The 2014/15 skiing season sees Switzerland, the most prolific producer of ski tourism posters during the 20th century, celebrate 150 years of winter tourism. Christie’s 17th annual Ski Sale, which takes place on 22 January 2015, features an impressive selection of ski posters from Switzerland and other favourite European skiing destinations, as well as further afield. Below, Vintage Posters specialist Nicolette Tomkinson presents her top picks from the sale.
Very few winter sports posters exist for Norway and are consequently difficult to source. The images are consistently popular with Norwegians who live and work in London and who are passionate supporters of their country's no. 1 sport. This 1957 work by Claude Lemeunier cleverly integrates the essential text into the design of the poster.
Another dynamic combination of text and design can be seen in this poster advertising the glamorous resort of Gstaad in Switzerland. The winter sports experience was not limited to skiing: in Gstaad in 1933 visitors could also enjoy sports as diverse as ice hockey, skijoring (cross country skiing assisted by dogs) and equestrian skijoring.
Roger Broders' design to encourage travel by train on the Paris-Lyon-Méditerranée railway to the Alps is a superb example of Art Deco poster design. Circa 1930, the image is a delightful record of skiwear fashions at this time and perfectly captures the key ingredients of a winter break: breathtaking mountain scenery and an opportunity to enjoy exhilarating exercise on the slopes surrounded by friends.
The main purpose of the lithographic poster was as a piece of advertising. To catch the attention of a passer-by a poster had to have instant visual appeal, and the Swiss artist Martin Peikert uses strong colours and bold quirky designs in order to achieve this. The Montreux-Oberland Bernois railway commissioned this fun image to encourage travel by train to this popular Swiss skiing region. Swiss travel companies were prolific patrons of the poster and Switzerland remains the most sought-after country for collectors in this category.
The St. Moritz tourist board worked hard to encourage skiers to visit this glamorous long-established Swiss resort. This powerful image by Carl Moos of a ski jumper gracefully flying through the air is a masterpiece of design and one of the top lots offered in the 2015 Ski Sale.
Throughout the 2014/15 ski season the Swiss resort of Zermatt celebrates the 150th anniversary of the first Matterhorn ascent. This iconic image of the Matterhorn was designed by Emil Cardinaux who is considered to be one of the early pioneers of poster design in Switzerland and a master of the technique of stone lithography.
Verbier, in the Swiss canton of Valais, is a popular destination for young British and Scandinavian skiers, and is recognised as one of the best resorts in the world for off-piste skiing. Unfortunately very few posters were produced for this relatively young resort. This image of Verbier by Martin Peikert celebrates the cable car Télésiège de Medran. Before it was built the only way to get back up a slope was to pick up your skis and walk, so the presence of any type of cable car or ski lift was worth promoting to potential visitors.