In turn-of-the-century France, the popularity of Jules Verne’s science fiction works such as Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea inspired a postcard series projecting life in the year 2000. Through their varied illustrious renderings, the desire for a more conveniently ordered and functional world is evident in every aspect of life from travel, industry, farming, housework, grooming, leisure and education.
These paintings and illustrations are now categorized as ‘retrofuturism’, a term denoting their hopes and fantastic predictions. The term later applied to literary, film and television genres that incorporated the style into narratives for entertainment effect.
For some reason, it was speculated that humans of the future would conduct many of their daily activities underwater, including riding on seahorses and employing whales as public transportation.
In retrospect, the artwork seen here is a credit to the fervent imaginations of these visionary artists. They represent what innovation, science and creativity have already accomplished as well as the many inventions and possibilities that remain on our horizon.