Back to School, Education Posters and Normalcy

In this part of the world September means ‘back to school’ – three words that instill fear and loathing in school-age children and cause their parents to quietly dance a little celebratory jig. ‘Back to school’ means a return to schedules and soccer games, discussions about homework and curfews, carpools and band practice, complaints about teachers and used-to-be friends … in short, a return to normal.

Left: 1924 Original Italian Carton, Pastelli Fila Right: 1920s Original French Art Deco Poster, Stemm Socks – Jaqueline

Oscar Wilde wrote, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.”
I’m not sure that I entirely agree with that thought, but I would say that a solid education is best matched with as much exposure to the real world as possible. In my book – pardon the pun – education and travel are the greatest gifts (after, of course, a loving home and unconditional support) that one can give a child. And laughter – lots of laughter!

My favorite recollection of my son Giulian’s childhood is of hearing his uncontrollable giggle … the kind that might have been the result of a silly escapade, or a joke, or a dog unexpectedly coming up and licking him full on the face…

1900 Original French Poster, Historical Characters – Saussine

I’ve always been a huge fan of all things goofy, so this game sheet from the early 1900’s appeals to me for it’s political-incorrectness, it’s vibrant colors, and the myriad of wild and wacky personages it depicts. It would be a great teaching tool to show kids all about the kinds of clothing and millinery that were popular at the time…

A Russian poster from the 1950s aims to show the benefits of fresh air for school children

Going back to school has always been the source of humour, whether it had to do with Rodney Dangerfield trying to upstage his son’s professor, or listening to the Canada’s own Barenaked Ladies singing about going into Grade 9. The Internet Movie Database compiled a list of the 50 best school movies that you can find here, and posted some of the most awesomely bad and funny student responses to test questions.

1947 Original Italian Poster, Flight School Training
1917 Original Dutch Art Nouveau Poster, Instituut Overtoom/ Handelsondervys – Van der Vecht

Our 1950s Italian flight school poster and 1917 Dutch business school poster would have been used to appeal to mature students, in spite of the assertion by the Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich that “Together we have come to realize that for most men the right to learn is curtailed by the obligation to attend school.” The Huffington Post recently listed the best back to school quotes, but for me, the best of all odes to high school is this one from Jerry Lee Lewis.

From all of us at L’Affichiste, we wish you a pleasant Labor Day and an easy return to school – for both parents and students!











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