Poster of the Week: Go out into the country

Go out into the country, Graham Sutherland, 1938

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As part of the exhibition, the Siemens Poster Vote seeks to find out what your favourite poster is. Is it this one? Let us know by voting now!

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Graham Sutherland (1903-1980) started his career as a railway engineer but soon realised that his future lay in the arts. He studied engraving at Goldsmiths’ School of Art from between 1920–1925 and worked as a graphic artist and designer throughout that decade.  In the 1930’s he began to experiment with oil painting and took on a number of poster commissions and applied art projects to fund this new artistic direction. This poster, created towards the end of this period of transition, was the last of five posters designed by Sutherland for London Transport. It represents an exploration of the relationship between the real and the imagined that he went on to express in his surrealist landscapes.  Sutherland contrasts the grey office with the delights of the countryside.  An imaginary river flows colourfully into a lifeless interior; the static typewriter evokes the story-teller’s past presence, replaced by a small bright butterfly fluttering by an open window.

Created in 1938, ‘Go out into the country‘ encouraged leisure travel as an antidote to winter and the uncertain future that faced the country. A cutting from the Daily Express incorporated in the image urges the reader to take advantage of ‘pleasant winter days’ and ‘go out into the country’. Dated January 21st, the message seems optimistic rather than realistic although the image may have served as a reassuring metaphor for brighter times ahead.

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