Traveling Companions

Portrait of a couple with decoupage mat featuring the cutout letterhead of hotel stationery from around the world, c. 1920s. The anonymous man and wife evidently traveled the globe, and summarized years if not a lifetime of travel here within a single frame.

The photograph places the couple before St. Mark’s Basilica in Venice. The embossed and colorful letterhead advertises hotels around the United States and world, including England, Paris, and Russia. Each of the names of the hotels are cut and pasted onto the mat.

The anonymous man and woman pictured here in this 90 year old photograph are no longer with us and we do not know their names or personal histories. But they live on within this frame, in perpetual motion bouncing between the letterhead of those extinct hotels, which radiate around them like pinned destinations on a map. Our eyes are carried on one vicarious journey to another, and we can’t help but hear the whistles of trains in foreign stations, foghorns aboard transatlantic steamships, and snaps of unlatching leather suitcases in myriad hotel rooms. And yet the couple remains stationary among the stationery, and one gets a sense that wherever they traveled they never left home. Together they visited Venice, St. Petersburg, New York, Detroit, and London. Wherever they have gone off to, we can only hope they remain traveling companions to this day.



Good antique condition with some yellowing to mat.



12 3/4 inches tall

10 3/4 inches wide



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