Bidders were treated to a voyage across time at Swann Auction Galleries’ Thursday, October 26, sale of Rare & Important Travel Posters, with spectacular examples that embodied a century’s worth of technological development.
The top lot of the sale was Adolphe Mouron Cassandre’s promotional image for the maiden voyage of the Normandie, 1935, one of the most iconic posters of all time. It was purchased by a bidder in the room for $20,000. A fine selection of early ocean liner images opened the sale, as the earliest form of mass leisure transportation. A rare circa-1911 depiction of the White Star Line’s sister ships Olympic and Titanic, likely published before they were launched, reached $9,750.
Art Deco works by Jean Dupas for the London Underground performed well, with five of the six offered works finding buyers. Two extremely rare large-scale works from the same series in a different format—Where is this Bower Beside the Silver Thames, 1930, and Thence to Hyde Park, Where Much Good Company and Many Fine Ladies, 1930 ($12,500 and $10,400, respectively)—were met with great interest by bidders.
American posters proved popular, led by The Chief to California / Cajon Pass, 1930, an idyllic mountain scene by Hanson Puthuff, which sold for $10,625, above a high estimate of $6,000.
Several long-standing auction records were broken, both for artists and individual works. Willem Frederick ten Broek’s poster advertising an ocean liner cruise to the 1939 New York World’s Fair, featuring the iconic Trylon and Perisphere against a Deco skyline of lower Manhattan, sold for $9,750, a record for the artist. Making its auction debut was By the North Shore Line, a 1923 advertisement for the Chicago Rapid Transit Company by Ervine Metzl, characterized by Nicholas D. Lowry, Director of Vintage Posters at Swann Galleries, as “arguably the most progressive American poster artist of his time.” The work reached $9,750, a record for the artist. Additional records went to Earl Horter, whose sepia view of Grand Central Terminal, showing cars zipping across the promenade, 1927, reached a record $6,000. A dramatic circa 1952 image by Frank Soltesz, Fly TWA To and Across America, set a new record for the artist at $6,500. An unusual work by Roger Broders, Alger / La Ville Blanche, 1920, broke its previous record when it sold to a collector for $4,680.
The biggest surprise of the sale was the Official Yogi Bear Map of Jellystone Park, 1961, showing the locations of such amusing landmarks as “Old Faceful” and “Yogi Has Done Wrong.” Above a modest estimate of $400 to $600, the colorful work reached $1,375.
Mr. Lowry said of the sale, “Some of the rarest and most attractive posters performed especially well, implying a depth and sophistication of the market. Images that have appeared at auction more frequently performed unexpectedly well, further indicating a market that is becoming more discriminating and focused.”
The next auction of Vintage Posters at Swann Galleries will be held in February 2018.
Swann Auction Galleries
Swann Auction Galleries
P: 212 254 4710 x19