Five vibrant vintage posters to buy at auction and why12 November 2019 As bold and colourful graphic statements designed for mass consumption, original posters are a great way to fill a wall.
They provide nostalgia trips for music and film fans, rekindle the golden age of travel or wartime propaganda and preserve the legacy of a wealth of talented painters, designers and photographers who operated in the field of ‘commercial art’.
The collecting market is relatively new but has become quickly defined by artist, subject matter, rarity, and condition. There’s a premium to be paid for classic movie posters from Hammer Horror to Connery Bond. Works by Cassandre, the father of the ‘machine age’ style operate in a niche market of their own as do Art Deco posters promoting the joys of luxury travel and Alpine ski resorts.
However, by and large, this is a largely affordable market and one where personal taste - the name of a home town, a favourite musician or a quirky sense of humour - can count for a lot. There is plenty on offer under £500.
Before bidding it’s always worth satisfying yourself of a poster’s scale (some familiar images were produced in a wide range of sizes) and its imperfections. Good condition often comes at a premium but small tears and minor paper loss can be easily repaired by a paper conservation specialist. Most paper posters of more than 50 year's old will need lining to provide support before framing.
Age is not so important as date and originality. In both design and in content the best posters are those that are honest to the period, the country and the society in which they were produced. There are many relatively modern posters from ‘classic’ advertising campaigns, films and rock concerts that today command significant secondary market value. However, only in a handful of cases are recent reproductions and reissues of classic posters of interest to serious collectors.
Pictured here are a selection of the most viewed posters on thesaleroom.com that are coming up for sale in the coming days. Bag yourself some wall candy.
Second World War poster
This (76cm x 1.02m) scene titled September Hop-picking was commissioned by the Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts (later known as the Arts Council) during the Second World War. It was intended to be hung "where war workers congregate” so counts as a propaganda poster - an increasingly popular collecting niche. The artist is Harold Sandys Williamson (1892-1978) who is best known as the designer of posters for the London Underground and London Transport between 1922 and 1939. It carries an estimate of £120-240 at London poster specialist Antikbar on November 16.
View and bid for this WWII home front hop-picking propaganda poster on thesaleroom.com.
Whitby rail poster
Rail companies commissioned many posters to publicise their services during the age of steam. This poster with its dramatic styling promoting the seaside town of Whitby is one of a series produced for the London and North Eastern Railway by the Canadian-British illustrator and commercial artist Austin Cooper (1890-1964). The size is a ‘royal quad’ making it a wall-filling 3ft 6in by 4ft 2in. This copy has been professionally mounted on linen - usually a necessity for a pre-war paper poster. It is offered for sale at GW Railwayana in Pershore, Worcestershire on November 16.
View and bid for this LNER Whitby poster by Austin Cooper on thesaleroom.com.
Vintage original London Transport poster
Original London Transport posters are a collecting niche of their own - perfect fodder for anyone living in the capital city. This 1939 sheet promotes London's open air spaces and the delights of knitting with artwork by Margaret Barnard (1898-1992),a student of the Grosvenor School of Modern Art. Estimate £180-360 at London poster specialist Antikbar on November 16.
View and bid for this vintage original London Transport poster by Margaret Barnard on thesaleroom.com.
Folies Bergère poster
Some of the most famous and most valuable of all posters have been made for the Folies Bergère in the 9th Arrondissement, Paris. The cabaret and music hall was at the height of its fame from the 1890s and the days of absinthe and Toulouse-Lautrec through to the 1920s when Josephine Baker danced in a faux banana skirt and little else. The institution is still in business today with this 1.48m x 99cm poster from series designed by Aslan (Michel Gourdon) printed in 1977. Backed on linen, it has an estimate of £90-180 at London poster specialist Antikbar on November 16.
View and bid for this 1970s Folies Bergère poster on thesaleroom.com.
Chanel Chance fragrance poster
This (1.75 x 1.18m) poster for Chanel Chance fragrance features an image by renowned French fashion photographer Jean-Paul Goude (b.1940). Part of a memorable 2002 advertising campaign, it shows model Anne Vyalitsyna clinging tight to a oversized bottle of perfume. It carries an estimate of £30-60 at London poster specialist Antikbar on November 16.
View and bid for this Chanel fragrance advertising poster on thesaleroom.com.