NEW YORK, NY.- Swann Galleries
will conduct their annual spring auction devoted to Modernist Posters on Thursday, May 10 at 1:30 PM. The sale will feature scarce, cutting-edge posters from the Vienna Secession through the late 20th century, many with enduring designs for recognizable brands.
The sale opens with examples from the Austrian Secession, such as a March 1902 issue of Ver Sacrum, with a Koloman Moser poster on the cover (estimate: $3,000 to $4,000); an unusually large version of Mosers poster for Rischardsquelle, circa 1908 ($10,000 to $15,000); and Egon Schieles exhibition poster, Secession 49, Ausstellung, 1918 ($15,000 to $20,000).
An excellent selection of Russian avant-garde and constructivist works includes two 1930 posters by Gustav Klutsis, [We Will Turn the Five-Year Plan into a Four-Year Plan], Moscow ($10,000 to $15,000) and [Building of Soviet Farms and Collective Farms is the Building of Socialism in Rural Areas] ($7,000 to $10,000), as well as a Klutsis oil and pencil on canvas design for a kiosk for broadcasting Lenins speeches to the masses, with a label from the City Museum, Department of Social and Communal Hygiene attached to the back, 1922 ($15,000 to $20,000). There are also Soviet images by Alexander Rodchenko and the Stenberg Brothers.
Typography connoisseurs will appreciate Bauhaus designer Walter Dexels constructivist advertisement Verwende Stets nur Gas, 1924 ($15,000 to $20,000), and his sublime letterpress flier for Neue Wege der Photographie, 1928 ($2,500 to $3,500); Jan Tschicholds 1928 announcement for an exhibition of Vincent van Goghs work in Berlin ($4,000 to $6,000); and Max Bills poster for a ballet performance, Tanzstudio Wulff Basel, Zurich, 1931 ($10,000 to $15,000).
Wonderful Art Deco examples include Paul Colins celebrated portfolio Le Tumulte Noir, complete with 22 hand-colored plates depicting performers during Pariss black craze, 1927 ($20,000 to $30,000), and his poster for Josephine Baker / Disques Columbia, Paris, 1930 ($8,000 to $12,000). Coveted works by A.M. Cassandre are the well known Chemin de Fer du Nord, 1929 ($4,000 to $6,000); the rare BK Emaille, 1930; a full-size gouache and airbrush maquette for his 1932 poster for mens shoes, UNIC ($50,000 to $75,000); and two original paintings for covers of Harpers Bazaar magazine from 1938 and 1939.
Mid-century highlights include several posters by Edward McKnight Kauffer, such as his design for a 1949 exhibition of his own work at the Museum of Modern Art ($6,000 to $9,000); Ben Shahns progressive party campaign poster A Good Man is Hard to Find, New York, 1948 ($4,000 to $6,000); René Magrittes Second Film and Fine Arts World Festival of Belgium, 1949 ($1,500 to $2,000); and, evoking the Mad Men-era, Erik Nitsches series of Atoms for Peace posters for General Dynamics created for the 1955 Atomic Energy Conference in Geneva, Eric Strengers 1960 posters for Porsche, David Kleins TWA and Herbert Danskas American Airlines.
Pop Art examples include Blaise Brons proto-pop masterpiece, Mobil Oil, 1952, which greatly resembles Roy Lichtensteins early graphic work due to its use of Ben-Day Dotsbut predates it by almost a decade ($10,000 to $15,000); a circa 1968 German political poster by an unknown artist, Der Reaktion Eine Harte Linke / SDS, showing a comic book-like scene ($1,500 to $2,000); and Lichtensteins own design for the 1967 Aspen Winter Jazz festival ($1,500 to $2,000).
There are two versions of Paul Rands iconic IBM poster, one from 1982, the other a reissue from 1991 ($3,000 to $4,000 each); René Gruaus suggestive circa 1980 designs for Dior / Eau Sauvage ($500 to $750 each); two irreverent David LaChapelle ads for Lavazza espresso, 2002 ($500 to $750 each); and a group of 12 posters by various artists for the failed bid to bring the 2012 Olympic games to San Francisco ($3,000 to $4,000).
The auction will begin at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 10. The posters will be on public exhibition at Swann Galleries Saturday, May 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, May 7 through Wednesday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to noon.