This intriguing design leaves plenty to the imagination, as the artist, year, and context are all unknown (if you have insider knowledge, please enlighten us). What we do know is that the poster was printed in Rio de Janeiro, and the removed tip-on tells us that the plane is a Blériot 50 HP. This is a confounding combination, as Blériot was a rival of Brazil's highly lauded aviation pioneer, Alberto Santos-Dumont, who successfully made the first powered flight in Europe in 1906 while Blériot's IV was damaged. Though Blériot's name would go on to achieve more international renown, Brazilians still treat Santos-Dumont as a national hero, and we think he'd be a much more likely candidate for this early aviation lithograph. Alas, those colorful plumes of smoke will keep us guessing.
The Great Acrobatic Party is a grandiose event indeed, as one can glean from the exhaustive list of events presented: ascension of the first balloon, a regular balloon launch followed by a second group equipped with automatic release parachutes, an aerial cyclist performance (using a balloon without basket, valve, or stopping gear, etc. mounted by M. Gilbert, world champion, and the only one to go up 10,000 feet in space on a bicycle), raining flowers and parachutes, concerts, and an acrobatic party featuring the burlesque acrobats Fred and Jack (plus Juliani, the late-century juggler from Cirque d'Été; Smith, the reptile man from Nouveau Cirque; antipode exercises; Constanz-Ida of the Folies Bergère on a steel wire; and comic cyclists). But that's just the beginning. On the right-hand side of the poster, the regulations for the Balloon Rally are detailed: opposing teams—mimicking enemy countries—must pursue a balloon cyclist carrying privy information and return the captive on the same machine he flew away on. Later events include a women's race, followed by "Under the Butter Market," which features oxyradical light projection by M. Ludovic Gully from Rouen, accompanied by illuminations of the great boulevards and monuments of the city. Later, more concerts, a great torch light retreat, and a finale performance by the great M. Gilbert on his Gladiator aerocycle. Are you still with us? This poster was printed by woodblock and is engraved with a color tip-on of a balloon. All in all, it is a sensational and unique piece!
After the Statendam II was overtaken by the British in World War I, her successor, the Statendam III, was created. She made her maiden voyage on April 11, 1929, with a Rotterdam-Boulogne-Southampton-New York run. A very economical and popular ship, she became known as the “Queen of the Spotless Fleet.” She made her final voyage on November 4, 1939, and was later destroyed in Rotterdam when she became the victim of crossfire between Dutch resistance and Nazi invaders. Padok’s serenely majestic poster for the vessel effortlessly conveys both transoceanic grandeur and strong ties to tradition, courtesy of the frigate modestly escorting the new “Queen” of the seas.
Franz von Stuck was an integral member of the Munich Secession, and created several of their posters. This poster was the first to promote the group's seminal exhibitions at their exhibition space in Königsplatz, and this design would be adapted many times for their ongoing shows. A line drawing of the neoclassical building in which the exhibition was held is displayed at the bottom, while the profile of Athena, Goddess of Wisdom and Patroness of the Arts, reigns from above. A copy of this poster is also in the collection of Museum Villa Stuck in Munich.
Condition: B+ / restored tears, largely at edges. Framed
"Universally considered his most brilliant and successful design" (Wagner, p. 22). The Wine Spectator introduces Toulouse-Lautrec's world-famous lithograph this way: "Jane Avril on stage doing her specialty, which, according to contemporaries, was essentially a cancan that she made exotic by making a pretense of prudery—the 'depraved virgin' image aimed at arousing the prurience in the predominantly male audience. The sexual innuendo was captured by the artist by contrasting the dancer's slender legs with the robust, phallic neck of the bass viol in the foreground—a masterly stroke that not only heightens our perception but also creates an unusual perspective: we see the performer as an orchestra member would, and this allows Toulouse-Lautrec to show, as if inadvertently, how tired and somewhat downcast she looks close-up, not at all in keeping with the gaiety of the dance that is perceived by the audience. It is clear, as Maindron has pointed out, that she is dancing entirely for the viewer's pleasure, not hers, which makes it a highly poignant image. Seemingly without trying, Toulouse-Lautrec not only creates a great poster but makes a personal statement: Only a person who really cares about his subject as a human being would portray her with such startling candor" (Wine Spectator, 41). This version is hand-signed by the artist.
This very decorated design promotes Japanese and Chinese teas expressly packed and imported for E. Guittard & Co. of San Francisco. The company's founder, Etienne Guittard, traveled from France to the Barbary Coast in hopes of benefitting from the California Gold Rush. He came armed with chocolate from his uncle's factory to trade for mining supplies, but soon realized that the chocolates were a valuable delicacy of their own right. He founded his company in 1868 and sold coffee, tea, and spices alongside his chocolates. The company is still in operation to this day.
Today, Paris's Jardin Zoologique is a children's amusement park—but the zoo has serious skeletons in its closet. Opened in 1860 by Napoleon III, early intentions were innocent enough: botanical exhibitions featured acclimating plants and animals from France's colonies. But during the siege of Paris from 1870-1871, many of the animals were cooked and served by the zoo's chef. Thereafter, it was converted into l'Acclimatation Anthropologique—a human zoo—with surprising amounts of attendees (some one million visitors from 1877-1912). This particular promotion touts an exhibition of Sinhalese people from Sri Lanka. These barbaric affairs continued until 1931, when the owners finally realized their wrongs, and converted the venue into a children's attraction. This woodblock-engraved poster includes a color tip-on by Léon Sault.
Although the slogan reads "I only smoke Nil", Nil isn't actually a cigarette, but rather a brand of cigarette rolling paper. Nil claimed to be as "tough as an elephant's hide," which is how the company's spokespachyderm came to be. So this was an easy marriage between product and posturist, seeing as the elephant was a favorite Cappiello attention-getter. The Joseph Bardou company introduced Nil to the public in 1887.
Nothing is known about the career or life of Katharine Roland other than this poster, which hypes her up as "America's Favorite" for her danse illuminée in the vein of the much more famous Loïe Fuller. The poster presumably promotes London performances of her illuminating work.
Knorr is, to this day, one of the largest German companies that produce bouillon cubes, soup mix, and similar products. "Cappiello skillfully demonstrates that from a packet of Knorr condensed soup you can prepare a minimum of three bowls—perhaps even four—all for 15 pfennigs. It's not clear if the initials 'DS' at bottom left refer to Damour or some other agency" (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 319).
Lautrec’s friend André Marty was a publisher and dealer in graphic arts, and also the founder of a chain of interior decorating shops that he called “L’Artisan Moderne.” As a favor, the artist helped him to publicize that venture by designing this charming poster showing “a craftsman, the medalist Henri Nocq, taking instructions from his very charming lady client” (Adriani, p. 99).
De Feure's extravagant design may at first read as a fashion advertisement; note the fine details in this woman's hat, shawl, and at the bottom of her long dress. But the image in fact promotes Victor Hugo's novel, "Hans of Iceland," which is being published in installments in the newspaper La Dépêche. "The emblematic representation of woman in his last artistic posters resolved the duality which had existed between the misogynous image of the femme fatale (in the early works) and that of the modern, emancipated woman (in this and later works)" (de Feure, p. 205).
Pal announces the inaugural issue of this liberal newspaper specializing in political and literary coverage with an image of an unfettered Marianne, holding an outsize writer’s quill—the weapon of choice of literati everywhere—that serves as the flag staff for the French tricolor.
"Luna Park was an amusement park at the Porte Maillot, near the Place de l'Etoile. Its director was Leon Volterra, who was the most important influence on the Parisian entertainment business for 30 years, as head of the Olympia, the Lido, the Théâtre de Paris, the Marigny, and other establishments. It was at Luna Park, on June 29, 1928, that a night of festivities was planned to raise money for a charity for needy, retired actors. Colin, as he was to do for so many groups and on so many occasions in the future, donated his talents to this worthy cause and in the process created a most delightful poster and—since it looks like it's going to be a fun evening and we'd want to go there for sure—a most effective poster as well" (Colin, p. 8).
In 1903, The New York Times printed a review of La Sorcière (The Witch) titled "Sardou Play Triumphs: 'La Sorciere' and Sarah Bernhardt Accorded a Great Ovation in Paris," where it opened December 15, 1903. And Abbéma's promotion is appropriately triumphant as well: Bernhardt takes the central focus of the design, with the azure lettering and slight shadows drawing out Bernhardt's opalescent jewels, serene eyes, and the flowers in her luxurious gown. The play was written by Victorien Sardou, and Bernhardt played its star, Zoraya, at her namesake theatre in Paris. As The New York Times concludes, "The dramatic interest was splendidly kept up and Bernhardt's personation of the Moorish girl was magnificent. The staging and the accessories were worthy of this [mastery] of Sardou. The audience was extremely enthusiastic and gave the actress repeated ovations."
Whether it's 1897 in Paris, 1967 in San Francisco, or 2020 in Brooklyn, the counterculture scene resonates in this indelible image: a Bohemian poet, orating in wild hair and tangled beard, to a gaggle of female admirers in a dimly lit night café—this one was just a block from the Jardins du Luxembourg and two blocks from the Sorbonne. It's the first known poster of the little-known Georges Fay, and was good enough to get him noticed by Jules Chéret, who solicited two pieces by him for inclusion in Les Maîtres de l'Affiche.
Condition: B+ /unobtrusive folds, slight tears in victim's coat
Based on the memories of a retired police chief, “Les Mystères de la Tour Pointue” (Mysteries of the Pointed Tower) is one of many autobiographical installments in this series which ran for at least two years in Le Journal. Each involved some sort of gruesome murder, such as the one portrayed here in which a dastardly pair strangle an elderly gentleman, presumably over what is or is not written on the pages placed on the table.
The Théâtre Libre, founded by André Antoine in 1887, was exempt from the censorship of the day—possibly due to its unique financing structure. Its 200 season-ticket holders were treated to some of the most avant-garde theater of the era, witnessing productions such as Ibsen's Ghosts, which had been banned elsewhere. By 1893, its financial situation was perilous, perhaps reflected in the two plays listed for the 1893-'94 winter season: A Bankruptcy and The Poet and the Financier. Toulouse-Lautrec's print was originally published without lettering as "La Coiffure," showing one of the women from the rue des Moulins brothel having her hair done.
Condition: Overall excellent condition with slight stains at edges.
This 30-page complete program includes a supplement of Toulouse-Lautrec's Ambassador in color, and music sheets of Aristide Bruant's top songs. It contains 140 songs and poems in total, with illustrations by Barrère, Fau, Grandjouan, Léandre, Métivet, Morin, Steinlen, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Willette.
For a woman so stately and a poster so much larger-than-life, one would think that this Louisa de Korr was quite an important lady—but, sadly, no information exists about her that we could find. In any case, it's a fantastic depiction by Pal. This is a two-sheet poster.
Condition: B / slight tears and stains, largely at seam.
Presented in a detailed Edwardian gown and silver hair, this otherwise youthful performer stands next to an upright piano. The contemporary critic Charles Hiatt noted that this poster “is of an elegance to which Paléologue does not often attain, and would be distinguished in almost any collection of posters” (p. 145).