Face it. You can't really make great art out of Boeing 707s. Sure, Salvador Dali might do something interesting with the Concorde, but pitted against the glory that was the S.S. France or the Orient Express, any travel poster artist today is playing with half a deck - an no ship's deck at all.So Mary Mattingly, a Washington artist, took to The Thirties for inspiration in her first limited-edition travel poster. The edition is of 300, each signed and numbered, and even the price ($8) sounds 1930s-inspired. Hers will be the only new poster in a Travel Poster Exhibition that is straight out of Fred Astaire or Greta Garbo. The rest of the dozens of 1920s and 1930s Art Deco posters are of Sea State sailing "from Odessa to Istanbul in 34 hours"; trains like the Silver Zephyr; resort posters for 1930s Swiss spas and points everywhere; and some rare National Parks posters done by Dorothy Waugh for the WPA. It's all enough to make you want to go home and get your shoesies ("on a Pullman in a sleeper, there's no honeymoon that's cheaper") and shuffle off to Buffalo.
Signed and numbered limited-edition travel poster, $8. Travel Poster Exhibition, October 5-29, at Inglett-Watson, 2918 M St. NW. Open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 337-1190.