“Getting Started: Affordable Poster Classics for the New Collector” at International Poster Gallery

  • BOSTON, Massachusetts
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  • February 26, 2013

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Courtesy of International Poster Gallery

BOSTON, MA - International Poster Gallery (IPG) proudly presents “Getting Started: Affordable Poster Classics for the New Collector”, a show and sale of 50 original vintage posters under $2500 that reveal why the field remains one of the best for newcomers. The show features fine examples from several styles, subjects and eras to indicate the incredible breadth of opportunities for any budding collector. Highly accessible, beautifully printed and designed,  often by world- leading artists, advertising posters have more than a 30 year track record of appreciation. A New Collectors Night is scheduled for Thursday, April 11 from 6-8pm and is open to the public.  International Poster Gallery is located at 205 Newbury Street in Boston and is open daily from 10am – 6pm and Sunday from noon – 6pm.  For additional information, please visit www.InternationalPoster.com or call 617-375-0076.

While Belle Epoquech poster classics by Toulouse-Lautrec and Alphonse Mucha were created as well as collected in the 1890s, the vintage poster market took off again in 1979 and quickly re-established the medium as a leading collectible. Originally conceived as ephemeral advertisements, posters that remain today are often unused survivors that were found in warehouses or the estate of a collector or artist. Many of these posters, like fine prints, were created as color lithographs, featuring rich, deep colors and varied textures that even today are unsurpassed in aesthetic appeal.  Vintage posters have many levels of meaning – they are art, commerce, and society all rolled into one, and their broad range of style and subject makes them desirable to any collector. Though their supply is dwindling, one can still buy a poster masterpiece from a great artist for under $2500.

Courtesy of International Poster Gallery

Due to their high quality, reasonable prices and historical interest, war and propaganda posters are one of the largest areas of poster collecting.and offer perhaps the most attractive opportunity for new collectors. In the 1970s, typical prices were well under $100, but those same posters today have risen in value up to several thousands of dollars. Howard Chandler Christy’s famous 1917 poster Fight or Buy Bonds is a fine example from the genre and today sells for under $1000 in excellent condition. The show features several other war posters, all very accessible to a new collector, with subjects as diverse as food, shipbuilding, war time security and production quality.

Art Deco Style is another popular area, as is wine and spirit posters, and the two are combined in the show’s featured piece, a design by Sepo for the French aperitif Picon. This circa 1930 gem is a recent discovery that features a surprisingly contemporary color palette, angular lines, and a playful spirit.  Those interested in adorning the walls of a bar area, dining room, living room, or pool room will find this piece unmatched in value, and at just over 35 x 50 inches in size, it can serve as a focal point in almost any setting.

Courtesy of International Poster Gallery

Leonetto Cappiello is known as the father of modern advertising, creating close to 1000 brand-building product posters from 1900 to 1950.  While many of them now bring from $3,000 up to $35,000, there are a few classics that can still be found at more affordable prices. One of the most popularbest is Le Nil, a cigarette rolling paper so strong and durable that the artist chose an elephant to symbolize the brand. Since most posters are designed in a vertical layout, this large format horizontal poster is desirablea rarity in dimensions alone, and is compleimented by a dramatic design and saturated color.  The poster is still a value for collectors on a budget, but its price continues to rise steadily. Those with an interest in Cappiello should also appreciate the works of Swiss product posterist Herbert Leupin.  Leupin is the creator of close to 90 Swiss Poster of the Year award- winning posters and his classic Fifties Coke poster, Pause, is featured in the show.

Travel is another blockbuster poster category, and the gallery has over 1500 examples from the birth of the travel poster in the 1890s, through to the Art Deco era, Mid-Century and all the way up to the 2000s. One classic example from the Fifties is by Rene Gruau, a top French posterist of the era, created for a cruise line. Relax (1954) shows an Audrey Hepburn look-alike enjoying a carefree day at sea. A fine example of this is available in the gallery for under $2000.

Also offered are a number of smaller graphics, many already framed and available for under $100.  Vintage luggage labels are a hugely popular category, especially for newcomers.  The original form of viral marketing, these beautifully designed labels were affixed to the suitcases of intrepid travelers as a scrapbook of exotic destinations.  Worldly individuals were given the chance to show off their adventures to fellow travelers, all the while serving as walking billboards for those destinations.

“I started as a new collector so I understand the anxiety that goes with dipping your feet into the art arena,” comments gallery owner Jim Lapides. “Poster collecting is easier and cheaper than you think, and if you buy what you love it will appreciate as you appreciate it. There is nothing more satisfying than living with art that reflects your passions and your interests and despite all of the collecting over the past decades, there are still many areas of shockingly rich opportunity.”

In addition to gallery shows and special exhibitions, IPG’s award-winning website, www.internationalposter.com offers one of the largest, most comprehensive online collection of vintage advertising posters in the world.  Originally launched in 1998, the site contains nearly 5000 images accessible through a powerful search engine.

Joshua Payne
Fusco and Four

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