An auction of Rare & Important Travel Posters at Swann Galleries on Thursday, October 26 promises vicarious thrills and worldwide destinations, teeming with the work of renowned graphic artists such as Roger Broders, Adolpe Mouron Cassandre and Jean Dupas.
The sale is especially remarkable for its dazzling selection of Art Deco works, embodying the Golden Age of luxury travel. The style is epitomized by Jean Dupas’s commission for the newly-formed London Passenger Transport Board, in which he envisions the city as an elysian wonderland; two landscape works from 1930—Thence to Hyde Park… and Where is this bower beside the silver Thames?—are each valued at $15,000 to $20,000. All of the six posters Dupas designed for the Underground are present in the sale, with the four 1933 works carrying an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000 each.
Brightly-colored Deco depictions of European getaways by Pierre Commarmond are led by La Route des Pyrénées, circa 1925, and Villers sur Mer / La Plage des Enfants, circa 1935, one of the few works by the artists to depict people enjoying the advertised locale, each with an estimate of $1,000 to $1,500.
A fleet of scarce and colorful works by poster visionary Roger Broders is led by Marseille / Porte de l’Afrique du Nord, 1929 ($5,000 to $7,500). The iconic Sainte –Maxime, 1929, and Monaco Monte – Carlo, circa 1920, are each valued at $4,000 to $6,000.
The sale features a veritable timeline of aviation history, with early works that capture the feverish fascination with the miracle of flight. Posters advertising fairs and events at which, for the first time in their lives, visitors might see a person fly through the air, such as Grande Semaine d’Aviation Rouen, 1910, by Georges Villa, conflating the human body and flying machine with a winged woman swooping around the city’s famous cathedral ($2,000 to $3,000). Charles Rambert created another work for the same aviation meeting in Rouen, showing a pilot soaring past a cathedral as gargoyles and saints on the spire recoil in horror ($6,000 to $9,000).
Dramatic ocean liner posters include James Scrimgeour Mann’s White Star Line / R.M.S. Olympic & Titanic, circa 1911, rare rendition of the famous sister ships, likely executed before their launch, with an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000. Also available is Adolphe Mouron Cassandre’s monolithic image of Normandie / Maiden Voyage, 1935, as well as SS. “Côte d’Azur,” 1931 ($15,000 to $20,000 and $10,000 to $15,000, respectively). A poster for the Hamburg America Line, Around the World via Panama Canal, advertises a cruise on the SS Cleveland that began in New York in January 1915. Because the canal had opened in August 1914, this was likely one of the earliest posters to promote it as a route for passengers ($1,200 to $1,800).
Early posters advertising train travel to New York City showcase landmark rail terminals, such as Ivar Gull’s Pennsylvania Railroad / The Gateway to America, 1929, making its auction debut with an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000. Across town is Earl Horter’s view of Grand Central Terminal / New York Central Lines, 1927, showing the iconic grand concourse in a new, unfamiliar light, with people driving cars along the promenades in the station ($5,000 to $7,500).
Of special note is By the North Shore Line, a 1923 advertisement for the Chicago Rapid Transit Company by Ervine Metzl, described by Nicholas D. Lowry, Director of Vintage Posters at Swann Galleries, as “arguably the most progressive American poster artist of his time.” The present work shows a fish about to be caught, and is part of a series intended to demonstrate various activities available along the route of the train. The poster makes its auction debut with an estimate of $4,000 to $6,000.
A premier selection of work by Edward McKnight Kauffer features rare examples of his Vorticist period, including a rare 1922 advertisement for London History at the London Museum, starring the Great Fire of 1666, as well as a promotion for the London Museum of Practical Geology, 1921 ($2,000 to $3,000 and $1,5000 to $2,000, respectively).
The southern hemisphere features prominently among popular destinations, with India and Australia each luring travelers with bright colors and endemic creatures, namely koalas and elephants.
The complete catalogue with bidding information is available at www.swanngalleries.com.
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Swann Auction Galleries, New York