Old Forge, New York is a quaint hamlet tucked away in the Adirondack region; as of 2010, their population was 756, and they regularly record the lowest winter temperatures in the state, as in their 1979 record low of -52 degrees Fahrenheit. All signs point to ideal ski conditions, as evidenced by Maurer's athlete soaring high above the snowy peaks.
Kauffer designed his first poster for the London Underground in 1919: a commission for the winter sale at the Derry & Toms department store. Naturally, the partnership blossomed, and soon Kauffer was designing posters for their annual winter sales. "...Kauffer shifted the focus of his imagery from the explicit to the implicit, from pictorial to abstract, which he achieved by emphasizing the complex beauty and geometry of his subject rather than its immediate appeal" (Art for All, p. 133). The overarching idea of these works was that wintry weather should not impede flights of fancy—simply ride the Underground to your retail bliss. Here, against sharp geometric forms, Kauffer shows a silhouetted man in a hat and overcoat seamlessly transition into a springtime tennis player, thanks to the marvel of transit. It's worth noting that Kauffer purposely eliminated apostrophes from the text, perhaps for visual cohesion. Rare!
Chéret captures his model dressed for a night on the town and coyly twisting to face the viewer. It's a lovely moment with both soft and detailed qualities—notice the folds in her leg-of-mutton sleeves.
Condition: Signed pencil, ink, and watercolor drawings. Framed.
Throughout the course of Gesmar's and Mistinguett's close working relationship, Gesmar designed thousands of costumes and 55 posters for the ebullient showgirl. His creative work was prolific, despite a tragically short life, and he sketched out his ideas constantly. Here, we can witness his planning process for his 1928 poster, Mistinguett / Rags to Riches (see PAI-LXXVII, 224). These images are particularly detailed and very closely resemble the finalized design. At this point in his career, he had finessed his skills and was at the height of his game, but sadly, this also marked his last poster for Mistinguett. (2)
Loupot's image for safety glass and Cassandre's Triplex (see PAI-LXXV, 272) were executed the same year—shortly after the beginning of their association in Alliance Graphique. Both use a plane of glass, but in characteristically different ways. Cassandre's image, rendered in sober black and brown, focuses on the threat to the driver's eyes. Loupot's design has nothing of this stark quality. Indeed, the glass here shatters, but the shower of the fragments resembles a joyous snowfall; the person behind it comes through smiling, and the colors offer a sense of safety and well-being. It's not precisely what you'd expect, but it is a most effective—and entertaining—vision of precisely what non-cutting broken glass might look like.
World expositions were a popular way for European countries to show off their colonies and bring the exoticism of distant lands straight to the people. As part of French Indochina, Cambodia was a French protectorate from 1863-1953. The exhibition in Marseille was France's third colonial exhibition and attracted over 1,800,000 visitors. Here, a Cambodian dancer in traditional attire welcomes guests to their pavilion which resembles the temple of Angkor Wat—a Hindu temple complex that is the largest religious monument in the world.
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.
Condition: B/ Slight tears and stains, largely in text area.
The Campbell's soup company has many other entrepreneurs to thank for its success, including the Franco-American Food Company, founded by French emigré Alphonse Biardot in 1886. His canned soups and pastas—inspired by his native cuisine—became quite successful, and Campbell's acquired the company in 1915. His company's name was eventually phased out, but we can still thank Biardot for products beloved by children today: namely, SpaghettiOs and RavioliOs. This poster provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the Franco-American company in its heyday.
Condition: signed gouache and ink maquette. Framed.
These intrepid drivers are zooming across the atmosphere to deliver a tank of gas to a driver in need. The bold colors, cherry red automobile, and graphic shapes feel like they'd be right at home in an early Fiat advertisement, but sadly, a finalized poster of this design has not been found. Provenance: the archives of Imprimeries Courmont, Paris (indicated verso).
In operation from 1901 to 1947, Corre was a French automobile manufacturer known primarily by its logo "La Licorne"—The Unicorn. To increase sales in the early days of the company, they enlisted in racing competitions to notable success. The driver seen here is likely Joseph Collomb, who drove the C1 model throughout 20 years of racing for Corre and won first place at several competitions, including the 1908 Coupe de l'Anjou and the 1912 Tour de France Automobile.
For such a striking image, there is no existing information about the Romanus I—or even which battle might be pictured here. Bomb-dropping airships became a popular attack vessel during World War I, so we can only assume that this battlefield scene would have occurred during that time.
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 Mother of Us All—a 1945 opera by Virgil Thomson set to a libretto by Gertrude Stein—chronicles the life of Susan B. Anthony in a fanciful exploration of American history. In 1967, Robert Indiana was invited to design the set and costumes for the Center Opera Company at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and several productions thereafter. Similar to his pop-art paintings, he employed flat primary colors, but took a more patriotic bent for this production: red, white, and blue banners; star-spangled pickets affirming the right to vote; and signage that draws on American advertising—all of which are imbued in this poster. This poster is hand-signed by Indiana and his assistant, Bill Katz.
The 1910 Milan Air Meet marked the first midair collision between two planes in recorded history. On October 3, René Thomas in his Antoinette monoplane accidentally collided with the rear of Captain Bertram Dickson’s Farman biplane. Although both survived, Dickson’s piloting career was ruined due to extreme injury. This sweeping poster by Mazza is a rare and wonderful design.
Several posters make use of a bold femme cyclist guiding the way with a piercing ray of light, and Coulet's interpretation is no less alluring. To demonstrate the efficiency and superiority of the Racer company's spare bicycle parts, he imagines our dame effortlessly super-cycling up towards the heavens.
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.
In your face! Mademoiselle de l'Affiche thrusts her brush into the nose of a stunned Pierrot in a grand assertion of artistic control. The poster announces that the artist, Léon Dardenne, will now be solely in charge of all posters produced by the Bulens printing firm. An audacious design for its time, and for ours as well.
Here is a prime example of Cappiello's trademark use of exaggerated proportions: a ravenous baker eagerly takes the first bite of a Union Biscuit, supposedly wishing that the treat will never see an end. Judges must have felt similarly; the biscuits won two medals at the most recent World's Fairs in Milan and Liège.
Here is one of the most beautiful examples of British Art Nouveau we've ever seen. Browne's poster brings Celtic and late-Victorian aesthetics together for a celebration of Ada Rehan, one of the most famous actresses of the period. Born in Limerick, Ireland, her family later emigrated to Brooklyn. Rehan rose to prominence at Daly's Fifth Avenue Theater in Manhattan, and became the go-to actress for romantic heroine roles in Shakespearean and Restoration comedies.
“Chetvertaya Zhena,” or "The Fourth Wife," was directed by prominent Russian director Joseph N. Ermolieff, who is best known for his 1936 film, "The Czar's Courier." Unfortunately, no information on the actual plot has been discovered, rendering this a simply fascinating piece of graphic 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).