Swann Galleries’ auction of Vintage Posters on August 1 brings to market the largest selection of food and drink advertisements the house has ever offered, along with premier examples of Art Nouveau, wartime propaganda and resort posters.
Leading the sale is Alphonse Mucha’s exquisite quartet, Times of the Day, 1899. Four allegorical women in diaphanous gowns represent Morning Awakening, Daytime Dash, Evening Reverie and Nightly Rest. The set carries an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000. Also available are the iconic Bières de la Meuse, 1897, and Salon des Cent, 1896 (each $8,000 to $12,000). Mucha’s extremely rare poster promoting the exhibition of works from his magnum opus, The Slav Epic, at the Brooklyn Museum in 1920, makes its second appearance at auction. Printed in only two colors, this unusual work is valued between $10,000 and $15,000.
Bacchanalian advertisements for wine, food and liquor from a singular collection are led by scarce work by Leonetto Cappiello: Carnaval / Vinho do Porto, 1911. The image has been seen at auction only once before, when this exact poster was offered in 2005 and acquired by the consignor. It is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000. Another rare poster by the artist is Fêtes du Congrès International des Étudiants, 1907, showing a female Bacchus squeezing grapes into her companion’s goblet ($8,000 to $12,000). More than 20 of Cappiello’s most famous posters will be offered, along with another 20 works by Luciano Achille Mauzan, including his cheerful Cirio / Extracto de Tomates, 1930, with an estimate of $3,000 to $4,000. Scrumptious highlights by Adolphe Mouron Cassandre, Ludwig Hohlwein, Georges Lepape, Manuel Orazi and J. Spring will also be available.
A sobering counterpoint to the festivities is a collection of 20 posters from the American Temperance Society, circa 1950s, with such taglines as Alcohol Destroys Feminine Loveliness and Alcoholic Beverages of Any Kind Do Not Mix with Football. The group is expected to sell for $2,000 to $3,000.
British and American propaganda from both World Wars includes James Montgomery Flagg’s iconic I Want You for U.S. Army, 1917, and Wake Up, America! / Civilization Calls, 1917 ($7,000 to $10,000 and $3,000 to $4,000, respectively). Britain’s iconic Keep Calm and Carry On, 1939, in excellent condition ($12,000 to $18,000) takes the opposite approach to This is the Enemy, Karl Koehler’s searing portrait of Nazi inhumanity, that won the National War Poster Competition of 1942 and is valued at $3,000 to $4,000.
A fine etching by Jean Dupas makes a rare appearance in a posters auction. The work is a detail from his 1928 painting, L’Enlèvement d’Europe, though this 1931 printing is sometimes called Le Taureau Noir. Showing two women with enormous bushels of flowers riding a bull, it carries an estimate of $3,000 to $4,000.
The complete catalogue with bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com.
104 25th Street
Swann Auction Galleries, New York