The focus for collectors of posters is very often subject matter. The subject of a work is key to its ability to connect with the viewer and in turn increase its value. Having said that there are masters of poster design as there are of art and these artists play an important role in shaping the market for collectable pieces.
David Klein (1918-2005), Miami, Fly TWA, circa 1960. Offset lithograph in colours. 40 x 25 in (102 x 64 cm). Sold for £1,500
David Klein (1918-2005), New York, Fly TWA, circa 1960. Offset lithograph in colours. 40 x 25 in (102 x 64 cm). Sold for £4,000
David Klein (1918-2005) is known as one of Americas preeminent commercial designers, particularly in the field of commercial travel for which he received many awards. He was part of the California Watercolour Society during the 1930s, a group who choose not to use preliminary pencil drawings but simply used colour in a new and original way, a grounding which certainly influenced his later commercial work depicting famous landmarks.
Between 1955-1965 he worked extensively for TWA promoting travel to Las Vegas, Miami and New York. He also produced eye catching bold abstract designs for United Air Lines featuring beach scenes in Hawaii and Los Angeles using his distinctive bright colour palette. One of his best designs for TWA, which features Times Square, New York, perfectly integrates text and image and is considered symbolic of the 1960s Jet Age. Klein’s New York poster is part of MOMA’s permanent collection.
Ludwig Hohlwein (1874–1949), Zoologischer Garten München, 1912. Lithograph in colours. 49 x 35½ in (129 x 90 cm). Sold for £13,750
Ludwig Hohlwein (1874-1949), Zoologischer Garten München, 1912. Lithograph in colours. 50 x 35½ in (127 x 90 cm). Sold for £4,750
Ludwig Hohlwein (1874-1949), who began his career as an architect, was the most prolific poster artist in Germany and produced posters for a huge range of German retailers and manufacturers. His designs were characterised by a strong use of colour, flat pattern and simplified lines.
He succeeded in transforming ordinary objects such as light bulbs, typewriters and work tools into striking graphic images. Fierce competition existed in Germany between commercial brands and the poster was seen as an important selling tool. Based in Munich, Hohlwein produced some of his most effective poster for the famous zoo in Munich.
Jean Carlu (1900-1997), Grandes Fêtes de Paris, 1934. Lithograph in colours. 47 x 62½ in (120 x 160 cm). Sold for £4,000
Jean Carlu (1900–1997), Feu du Ciel, Theatre Pigalle, 1930. Lithograph in colours. 61 x 41 in (155 x 104 cm). Sold for £6,250
French graphic designer Jean Carlu is renowned for the distinctive, streamlined economy of form in his images, emphasising the new machine age of the early 20th century. Rarely incorporating narrative elements in his poster design, his work maintains Art Deco’s first tenet ‘form follows function’. This poster represents the avant-garde ideals held by the theatre in Carlu’s use of symbolism where colour, line and content represent emotional values.
Jean Dupas (1882-1964), Thus Off They Went, 1933. Lithograph in colours. 40 x 25 in (102 x 64 cm). Sold for £1,875
Jean Dupas (1882-1964), There’s a Transport of Joy at the Zoo, 1933. Lithograph in colours. 39 x 23½ in (99 x 60 cm). Sold for £4,375
Towards the end of the 1920s, London Underground posters were gaining international recognition and Frank Pick, Head of Publicity for London Underground, easily attracted the best fine artists to work in this new field of commercial design.
One of the most famous French Art Deco painters, Jean Dupas (1882-1964) worked for the London Underground producing six designs that promoted travel to locations such as Richmond, Chalk Farm and Regent’s Park. His style was very distinctive, depicting elegant figures that appeared almost statuesque.
Dupas fitted the definition of a true Art Deco artist as his work was highly decorative and provided the perfect visual accompaniment to the furniture and other decorative arts seen in sophisticated interiors of the period.
Roger Broders (1883-1953), Monte-Carlo, circa 1930. Lithograph in colours. 39½ x 25 in (100 x 64 cm). Sold for £8,125
Roger Broders (1883-1953), L’été sur la Côte d’Azur, 1930. Lithograph in colours. 39 x 24½ in (100 x 63 cm). Offered for sale at Christie's London on 5 November 2015
Roger Broders (1883-1953) was a key figure in French travel poster design. His posters captured a sense of place by showing the actual destination of the train in contrast to contemporarires such as AM Cassandre who featured the specific means of transport being advertised. His posters often featured stylized fashionable women and incorporated purely geometric motifs in bold primary colours, and his series of travel posters covered all the desirable Riviera resorts including Nice, Antibes, Sainte-Maxime and Villefranche sur Mer. Broders is best known for his sporting images, particularly in Monte-Carlo.
A.M. Cassandre (1901-1968), Nord Express, 1927. Lithograph in colours. 41½ x 29 in (106 x 74 cm). Sold for £8,750
A.M. Cassandre (1901-1968), Normandie, 1935. Lithograph in colours. 39 x 24½ in (100 x 62 cm). Sold for £10,625
Throughout the 20th century, French graphic artist A.M. Cassandre produced an oeuvre of travel-related lithographic posters that are now counted among the most iconic and influential Art Deco designs in the history of the medium.
Born Adolphe Jean-Marie Mouron in the Ukraine in 1901, Cassandre moved to Paris in 1915 where he later began his education at the École des Beaux Arts. Taking inspiration from contemporary avant-garde movements in art, namely Bauhaus, Cubism and Futurism, Cassandre understood that in order to effectively promote the developments in transport brought about by the dawning of the ‘machine age’ he must employ the use of unadorned linear and streamlined forms to reflect the speed and dynamism of his era.
In this video, Sophie Churcher discusses A.M. Cassandre and other highly collectible poster artists
Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954), Winter Sale at Derry & Toms, 1919. Lithograph in colours. 58 x 38 in (148 x 97 cm). Sold for £4,375
Edward McKnight Kauffer moved to Britain from Great Falls, Montana, before the First World War and was to become one of this country’s most highly influential poster artists throughout the first half of the 20th century.
Starting his career in painting, he soon embraced graphic design in poster art as a burgeoning tool of communication in the modern age. He was particularly known for his work for London Underground as well as Shell Mex and B.P. Ltd., both hugely progressive companies in terms of their marketing profiles. His posters helped them project an image associated with urban modernism, technical advances and the modern lifestyle.
Lester Beall (1903-1969), A Better Home, Rural Electrification Administration, 1941. Silkscreen and offset lithography. 40 x 30 in (102 x 77 cm). Offered for sale at Christie's London on 5 November 2015
Lester Beall (1903-1969), Rural Electrification Administration, 1939. Silkscreen and offset lithography. 40 x 30 in (102 x 76 cm). Offered for sale at Christie's London on 5 November 2015
The great American graphic artist, Lester Beall (1903-1969), spent his formative years taking mechanical drawing classes and this early training in technical drawing became an important element of his developing graphic style. In 1935 Beall was awarded a solo exhibition by The Museum of Modern Art, the first time that a graphic designer had been honoured in this way. He was commissioned to produce three series of posters by the REA, (Rural Electrification Administration) whose role was to communicate change to rural communities affected by ongoing advancements.
Drawing on the dynamism of the European avant-garde, Beall creates a striking composition that brings together geometric stripes in red, white and blue echoing the American flag. The photomontage is used to great effect to represent rural communities as they look forward to their future in the mechanical age. Despite the overt political and nationalistic message, what truly stands out is Beall’s modernist design, which far outweighs the propagandist implications.
Our upcoming Posters sale on 5 November will be on view at Christie’s South Kensington from 31 October to 4 November
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