NEW YORK, NY.-
A strong selection of American posters from the World Wars, literary titles, political movements and the Olympics led to several auction records at Swann
s best August Vintage Posters sale ever, held on August 1.
Nicholas D. Lowry, Swann Galleries President and Poster Specialist, said, Our first August auction of vintage posters in 1994 hammered down at $144,695. This sale sold just under half a million dollars, and was our highest grossing August poster auction to date. It did almost 15% better than the vintage posters sale in August 2011, our previous best. Overall, bidding was brisk on propaganda posters from around the world, and travel posters, once again, did extremely well. As has been the trend over the past few years, good material has been selling for increasingly higher prices as the market assiduously seeks out objects of great rarity in excellent condition.
The sales top lot was Fred Spears haunting image of a mother and child, Enlist, New York, 1915, which set a record for any work by the artist at auction at $22,800*. Also selling for a record price was James Montgomery Flaggs ever-famous I Want You for U.S. Army, New York, 1917, which brought $13,200.
Other record-setting posters were Maxfield Parrishs Scribners Fiction Number, August, 1897, $6,720; Ben Shahns Progressive Party poster, A Good Man Is Hard to Find, New York, 1948, $6,000; and Julio Kilenyis Los Angeles Olympic Games, Los Angeles, 1932, $4,320.
Rounding out the American highlights were Pyramid of Capitalist System, designer unknown, Cleveland, 1911, $5,280; K.M. Baras You Are Wanted by U.S. Army, San Francisco, circa 1918, $5,520; Paul George Lawlers stunning view of a tropical paradise [Fly to South Sea Isles / Via Pan American], circa 1938, $7,200; Keep Us Flying! / Buy War Bonds, Washington, DC, 1943, $4,560; and Karl Koehler and Victor Anconas This Is the Enemy, New York, 1942, $7,800.
British WWII examples included Let Us Go Forward Together, London, 1940, a record $4,320 and Comrades In Arms, London, circa 1941, $4,560.
An anti-Bolshevik poster, Wolnosc Bolszewicka, depicting Trotsky as a devil seated on a pile of skulls, earned $13,200more than 10 times its pre-sale estimate. The designer, who made the poster in Poland during the Polish-Soviet War, is unknown.
Chinese propaganda posters by unknown designers also drew interest, [The Great Men of the World], Shanghai, 1945-46, brought $9,600 and [Battle Victory of the China U.S. Collaboration], circa 1945, $7,800.
Lovely travel posters by celebrated artist Roger Broders were Antibes, Paris, circa 1928, $12,000 and Sainte Maxime, Paris, 1928, $5,760, while Art Nouveau highlights included Henri de Toulouse-Lautrecs La Revue Blanche, 1895, $10,200 and Alphonse Muchas Lefevre Utile / Sarah Bernhardt, Paris, 1904, $5,760.