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98/18/1 Advertising poster, 'Corroboree Australia', colour lithograph, paper / linen, designed by Gert Sellheim for the Australian National Travel Association printed by F W Niven, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1930-1931. Click to enlarge.

Advertising poster for the Australian National Travel Association

Designed
Gert Sellheim was one of the earliest designers commissioned by the Australian National Travel Association (ANTA) to produce designs for Australian travel posters. Established in 1929, ANTA aspired to attract overseas visitors to Australia by displaying artist-designed posters in its London, San Francisco (opened 1930) and Bombay offices (opened 1937 and directed at the British serving in India). The Australian Tourist Commission (ATC) took over many of ANTA's functions in 1967.

'Corroboree …

Summary

Object No.

98/18/1

Object Statement

Advertising poster, 'Corroboree Australia', colour lithograph, paper / linen, designed by Gert Sellheim for the Australian National Travel Association printed by F W Niven, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1930-1931

Physical Description

Portrait-format colour lithograph used as an advertising poster by the Australian National Travel Association. The artwork depicts a diagonal composition of four illustrated Indigenous Australian male figures in ceremonial dance posture. The figures are painted with body decoration and wear elaborate head-dress, characteristic of certain Indigenous communities of central and northern Australia. The figures appear as black silhouettes against an ochre or orange background with a black border. The hand-lettered text, 'Corroboree' and 'Australia' appears upper leftt and lower right. The Association's details appear on lower right just above the word, 'Australia'. The designer's signature is incorporated into the design lower left. The printer's name appears on the edge of the poster. The poster is adhered to a linen backing.

Marks

Signature printed in lower left hand corner, 'SELLHEIM'.
Printed in lower right hand corner, 'F.W. NIVEN PTY LTD MELB.'.

Dimensions

Height

1012 mm

Width

633 mm

Production

Notes

The poster was designed by Gert Sellheim for the Australian National Travel Association and printed by F W Niven, 1930-1931

Sellheim was born in Estonia of German parents in 1901. He studied architecture at universities in Berlin, Munich and Gratz before travelling to London. He then migrated to Australia and arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1926. After his qualifications were recognized, Sellheim began work as a site architect at the University of Western Australia where he would have sighted George Benson's Aboriginal motifs painted on the ceiling beams of Winthrop Hall (completed in 1932).

He moved to Melbourne in 1930 where he set up his own architectural practice and began designing and exhibiting posters. In 1939, Sellheim was awarded the Sulman Prize by the Art Gallery of New South Wales for Government Tourist Bureau mural in Melbourne. By 1939 he had made a study of Aboriginal art and was regarded as an authority in this field according to the architect, Frederick Romberg. A significant selection of Sellheim's work was exhibitied in the Exhibition of Aboriginal Art and its Application organized by the Australian Museum in 1941. Other artists and designers included in this exhibition were Margaret Preston, Douglas Annand, Olive Nock, Francis Burke and Grace Seccombe. In the 1940s, Sellheim was also correspondence teacher for Poster Design at the Arts Training Institute, Melbourne.

He moved from Melbourne to Sydney in 1947 and established Gert Sellheim Design. For many years he designed the semi-official commemorative publications for Oswald Zeigler (eg 150 years in Australia in 1938) incorporating photomontage and decorative elements derived from Aboriginal art. He won stamp design competitions in 1946 and 1948 ('Aboriginal Art' stamp released in 1948 - MAAS collection) and in the 1940s and 1950s created letterheads, posters, souvenir menus and magazine cover designs for Qantas. Most significantly of all, Sellheim designed the distinctive flying kangaroo for Qantas in 1947, still in use in a slightly modified form more than 50 years after it was originally designed. Sellheim died in 1970.

All published sources, including the 'The Europeans: emigre artists in Australia 1930-1960' (NGA 1997) date the poster around 1930. ANTA was established in 1929 and Gert Sellheim was working in Melbourne from 1930 so the date is most probably accurately attributed. Further research required to confirm the date.

History

Notes

This poster is one of the earliest poster designs commissioned by the Australian National Travel Association (established 1929).

The 'Corroboree Australia' poster was part of a private collection offered for sale at Charles Leskie and Associates 'Australiana' auction held in Melbourne on 8 February, 1998. It was acquired by the Museum at this auction.

Source

Credit Line

Purchased 1998

Acquisition Date

22 February 1998

Cite this Object

Harvard

Advertising poster for the Australian National Travel Association 2023, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 8 June 2023, <https://ma.as/161490>

Wikipedia

{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/161490 |title=Advertising poster for the Australian National Travel Association |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=8 June 2023 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}