Special Exhibition: Vintage Posters from the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939-1940 at Spencer Helfen Fine Arts

Published on

September 22, 2020 – Ongoing

We are pleased to present several rare and important vintage advertising posters for the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939-1940 on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of that enchanting event.

Shawl, Nyeland & Seavey, "1939 World’s Fair on San Francisco Bay," 1937
Shawl, Nyeland & Seavey, “1939 World’s Fair on San Francisco Bay,” 1937

The Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939 and 1940 (GGIE) was held on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The GGIE was open from February 18, 1939 through October 29, 1939 and from May 25, 1940 through September 29, 1940.

The GGIE celebrated, among other things, the completion of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in 1936 and the Golden Gate Bridge in 1937.

The theme of the GGIE was the “Pageant of the Pacific,” focusing on the goods of nations bordering the Pacific Ocean. The GGIE’s theme was physically symbolized by “The Tower of the Sun,” and an 80-foot-tall statue of “Pacifica” created by California’s dean of modernist sculpture, Ralph Stackpole. Pacifica was the goddess of the Pacific Ocean, representing world peace and the power of a united Pacific coast.

The art exhibition included as part of the GGIE comprised artworks by virtually every then-active artist in the State of California. And, importantly, the call went out to various artists and advertising agencies for designs for posters to advertise the GGIE. What was created are stunning images featuring the newly built bridges, the statue of Pacifica, and Miguel Covarrubias’ image of the flora and fauna of the Pacific, among other designs.

Simon Vanderlaan, "San Francisco World's Fair, 1939," Ca. 1939
Simon Vanderlaan, “San Francisco World’s Fair, 1939,” Ca. 1939

We are most honored to offer several vintage examples of the posters created to advertise the enchanting GGIE.

Gallery Hours: Our Gallery is closed to visitors during the national emergency. We are answering emails and voicemails on a regular basis. Artwork purchases are rapidly shipped by Federal Express or can be picked up curbside. 310.273.8838

Spencer Helfen Fine Arts
Mailing Address:
9190 West Olympic Boulevard, Suite 424
Beverly Hills, CA  90212
[email protected]

About Spencer Helfen Fine Arts
Established in 2003, Spencer Helfen Fine Arts is a gallery focusing on California and American Modern Art. In addition, the Gallery exhibits fully researched historical artworks included in important exhibitions exploring the history of California, as in its current exhibition: Special Exhibition: Vintage Posters from the Golden Gate International Exposition of 1939-1940. Among the many artistic themes represented in the Gallery’s offerings are California Scene, California and American Regionalism, Social Realism, and WPA-inspired works. Stylistically, the Gallery offers works that reflect the wide diversity of California and American Modernism, including Surrealism, Realism, Magic Realism, Synchromism, Art Deco, Cubism, and Abstraction. The Gallery advises beginning and advanced collectors as well as museums and other institutions. The Gallery also represents important estates of artists from the Modern period.

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