French Gladiator Bicycles
A nude nymph flies behind her Gladiator cycle in this striking image.
Started in 1891 by Alexandre Darracq, Gladiator was one of the dozens of bicycle companies that made their way into the market when the cycling craze boomed. As was the case with most of them, economic realities soon hit. In 1896, Gladiator merged with Clement and Humber. The combined British-financed company kept all three names going for a time. This poster, done shortly before the merger, is without question one of the most sensational designs for a bicycle ever created-yet the artist hid his name. Even Alexandre Henriot, the great collector who organized the huge 1896 poster show at Reims, was unable to credit him. Many of Gladiators posters proclaimed the bike to be Sans Egale-without equal. The same can be said when comparing this design to the thousands of other bicycle posters of the period. It is truly Sans egale.
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