Posters of the Monaco Grand Prix: the poster boys of speed on the Riviera


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The Independent Culture

The posters promoting the Monaco Grand Prix were always much more than disposable advertisements. The organisers of the Monaco race employed top-of-the-range, fashionable artists of the time, and every poster was a work of art designed to capture the glamour and pace of the race for the year it represented. Those vintage works of art are now being exhibited in The Art of Speed on the weekend of the Grand Prix itself.

Every official poster from the 1930s through the 1950s is being displayed, alongside originals from later years, including some from the 1980s and 1990s which represented the tense races between rivals Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. Each official poster's artwork reflected that year's events – you can trace the epic battles between the Mercedes and Auto Union teams of the 1930s.

All the artists employed their own style: Robert Falcucci's 1930-1932 posters showed speed in the spirit of the Vorticist art movement – cars tearing round the palm tree-lined streets of the Cote D'Azur. Known as "the Prince of Motion" for his illustrations, Georges Hamel created elegant Art Deco pieces in (1933 to 1937 and 1948); Bernard Minne's illustrations included the 1952 poster; Jacques Ramel's 1950s images were Monaco chic.

And to ensure car fanatics don't feel too far from the action in Monaco, the rare Maserati 250F chassis 2521, driven in 1956 by Jean Behra and Louis Chiron, will be displayed alongside the posters.

The Art of Speed, The Hospital Club, London (020-7170 9100; 24 to 26 May