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Designer: Seymour Chawst American

Item: YM. 09

Title: The Sensational Houdini
Water Torture Escape

Description: Condition A+ Original poster
Printed in 1974
unbacked, shipped rolled via UPS.
Size:30 in x 46 in
 76.2 x 116.8 cm
Price: Sold Out

In promoting a Mobil network television presentation, The World of Magic, Chwast employed his trademark flat colors and decorative style to limn the show's highlight: Doug Henning attempting to perform The Sensational Houdini Water Torture Escape. Fresh from his recent Broadway hit, the wildly popular Henning naturally survived and the video camera caught it "live."

The original "Houdini" water torture escape.

Houdini invented the sensational Water Torture Cell. It consisted of an upright, rectangular tank that was filled with water and had a plate glass front. Houdini was handcuffed and his ankles were locked in a massive frame. He was then hauled upside down and lowered head-down into the water. The top of the tank was locked, and you could see Houdini suspended in the water until drapes were closed around him. He would escape in two minutes, stepping out of the drapes, smiling and wet, just at the moment the frightened audience became convinced he had drowned.

The Designer - Seymour Chwast

"A beguiling sense of humor underpins Chwast's illustration, and a keen understanding of traditional design governs his method."
(Steven Heller, graphic-design.com)

Seymour Chwast was born in New York City and is a graduate of The Cooper Union, where he studied illustration and graphic design. He is a founding partner of the celebrated Push Pin Studios, whose distinct style has had a worldwide influence on contemporary visual communications. In 1985 the studio’s name was changed to The Pushpin Group, of which Mr. Chwast is the director.

It would be difficult to imagine contemporary American and European graphic design and illustration without the presence of Seymour Chwast. By the middle of the 1950s, as the Norman Rockwell epoch drew to a close, Chwast was already known for his unique style of illustration. His playful, expressive approach to type and layout was the point of a new design wave based on revivalism—a radical alternative to the Swiss formalism of the time. For over 30 years he has continued to ride above the twists and turns of fashion; today his art is even more energized and varied than when it originally altered a generation's perceptions.

"For some 30 years, Chwast has been known for his unique style of illustration; and a fresh, sometimes playful approach to typography. His social commentary and unique way of combining images and ideas influenced an entire generation of designers and illustrators. The Push Pin Studio produced an award-winning bi-monthly publication, The Push Pin Graphic. Over the years it gained a world-wide reputation for its innovative design and illustration because of Seymour Chwast and Milton Glaser. It was the showcase and springboard for many illustrators and designers like David Croland, Michael Hostovich, Jeffrey Krassner, Fred Marshall and Haruo Miyauchi.

From posters to book covers to children's books and advertising design, Chwast has touched on virtually every facet of visual communications. Many 'new' graphics we see today are heavily influenced by Chwast's touch. He's been there -- done that."
(Steven Heller, graphic-design.com)

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