David Klein: Vintage TWA Posters

David Klein

If only travel posters still looked this good!

American illustrator, David Klein (1918-2005), created numerous travel posters for Howard Hughes’ Trans World Airlines (TWA) in the 1950s and 1960s. His posters use eye-popping colors, iconic landmarks, and scenic images to advertise global travel.

The composition of this particular poster is fantastic, as Klein sets the St. Louis Gateway Arch against a festively patterned background, emphasizing its momentous size. The analogous colors of the type, airplane, and old courthouse are a warm treat too!

David Klein

David Klein

David Klein

David Klein

David Klein

In 1957, the MOMA honored Klein by including his TWA poster advertising New York’s Time Square into its permanent collection.

In addition to creating colorful multi-faceted travel posters, Klein has also designed and illustrated window cards for Broadway plays and the Heights Players community theater. Images of his life’s work can be see on his website, which is managed by his estate.

Be sure to check out the general illustration section, which features a kooky take on Alice in Wonderland!


Also worth checking: Dan Reisinger Illustration and Design.

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Good Gravy! Those are great!

loving this so hard right now. especially the times square and africa. good god man!

Trevor |

Found design |

I’m with you Trevor + Micah…Sweet poster mustard! Klein is the man.

I’ve been in love with the Times Square poster for years (actually have a fridge magnet of it from MoMA)–does anyone know of a place I can get a nice, decently-priced reproduction at 24″x36″?

Daryl |

Found design |

The Harry S Truman H-bomb fedora illustration on Klein’s website blew my mind (pun!). Thanks for this.

Oh all so good, the NYC one reminds me of the star gate sequence from 2001 (nerd!). Would also like to know where i could find a reproduction of that one!

Absolutely love Klein’s work.

Perfection. Such fabulous artwork.

Wasn’t St. Louis TWA’s hub? In the New York poster, I just love the red tail lights going in one direction and the white headlights in the other.

Oh boy, how wonderful. Thank you!

Hey Steve, I think you right. I think St. Louis was the hub.

Daryl > If you find a place that sells a decent reproduction, let us know.

really interesting to compare the original guache paintings and the finished lithographs on his site

I’m a bit late to the party visiting this website but this is the kind of post that will keep me coming back. These are lovely!


alvaro |

Found design |

Not that it really matters, but that’s not City Hall in the St. Louis poster – it’s the Old Courthouse (where the Dred Scott case was tried). Not a big deal, but being a St. Louisan, I take a little pride in that. And, yes, STL was the TWA hub.

Steve Dallape |

Found design |

Hey Steve! Thanks for the correction. I just updated it in the post.

Klein’s work is so fantabulous!

Quick update: All Posters has a few art prints, including the Times Square poster! http://tr.im/vL7T

The former Kansas City TWA corporate HQ building has recently been renovated complete with a replica of the original TWA Moonliner Rocketship. The building currently houses Barkley ad agency.

Love these posters. My favourite has to be the Air Cargo one.

I have two original posters by him. I have las Vegas playing card one, and I have the Washington one.anyone know a good place/ way to sell them? They are in almost perfect shape

Corey |

Found design |

Anyone know a place to pick up a replica of the St. Louis poster? I’ve been looking all over and found a few for my hallway gallery wall of varying sizes. Can’t seem to locate St. Louis though…

Jared |

Found design |

I’ve also had my eyes on an original or repo David Klein TWA poster. Although, I’m on the look out for a Kansas City print.

So far – I’ve only found a repo NYC print.