Top 10 for $1000 or Less

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There are some spectacular bargains in our 76th Rare Poster Auction on Sunday, Oct. 28, including works by David Klein, Tadanori Yokoo, Chéret and Grün! Dive in!

48. TWA / Las Vegas. 1950. ($2,040)

By David Klein (1918-2005)

In one of his best designs for TWA, the dual nature of Las Vegas is alluringly presented – a sun-kissed bathing beauty by day becomes a glamorous Rat-Pack era card shark by night. Possibly the definitive symbol of Las Vegas at the first moment of its international fame.

72. rand Bal des Artistes. 1924.

By Mikhail Fedorovich Larionov (1881-1964)

A painter, stage designer and graphic artist, Larionov studied in Moscow before moving to Paris in 1914 with his wife – and fellow artist – Natalia Gontcharova. He would become one of the major figures of the 20th-century avant-garde movement, in part because of his relationship to Sergei Diaghilev, with whom he worked with for years at the Ballets Russes. He was involved with Fauvism and founded the Rayonist movement – a name derived from the practitioners’ use of dynamic rays of contrasting color to represent lines of light reflected off various objects. Larionov’s work helped to pave the way for the Futurist movement and artists such as Filippo Marinetti and Man Ray. After moving to Paris, Larionov continued to be involved with the Russian art movements, so it’s rather fitting that he designed this poster for one of the first artists’ balls of the Union of Russian Artists, the “Travesti Transmental.” Using only yellow and black, as well as hand-cut letters, the image suggests smaller yet recognizable versions of Cubist figures and works of art. The overall flavor of the poster is definitely in sync with the Paris avant-garde of the 1920s. Rare!

85. I Want You For the Navy. 1917.

By Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952)

This sultry Christy girl was created at precisely the same time as Flagg’s Uncle Sam, and both are saying “I Want You” – but with ever-so-slightly different inflections. Not only is this an interesting comparison to Christy’s “Gee!! I Wish I was a Man” (prior poster); but the sheer sexiness with which she dons the sailor’s dress uniform anticipates the Van Heusen shirt campaigns of many years later.

215. Celtique. 1934.

By A. M. Cassandre (1901-1968)

This is the smallest version of Cassandre’s Celtique poster; yet it still presents the pack of cigarettes in monumental scale with a grab-your-smoke invitation to the viewer.

230. Palais de Glace. 1894.

By Jules Chéret (1836-1932)

This is the Courrier Français insert version of the following large-sale design, featuring the charms of an enraputed skater whose sunny disposition all but melts the ice.

279. Dieppe.

By Genés

A perfectly balanced Deco travel poster beckoning golfers, sailors and gamblers all to Dieppe.

287. Bal du Déficit. 1897.

By Jules-Alexandre Grün (1868-1938)

Sources are scarce, but it appears that (according to the transcripts of M. Bellan and M. Adrien Veber in Procés-Verbaux), parties held on behalf of the short-lived journal La Vache Enragée (see PAI-LXXII, 371) had placed their stakeholders in quite a bit of debt. For a remedy, the stakeholders proposed a Bal du Déficit at the Moulin-Rouge, and Grün was hired for the poster – a splendid burlesque-pastiche in which the drummer-girl Marianne has one breast bared, while attendees in patched breeches look on at the left. They expected 5,000 to 6,000 francs to come from this affair. It’s unclear whether they accomplished their goal.

296. Montreux Jazz Festival 1983.

By Keith Haring (1958-1990)

Sproi-i-i-ing! Haring’s silkscreen poster, full of childlike kinetic energy, was printed with several different color combinations of this single design to promote the 1983 Montreux Jazz Festival, the 2nd-biggest of its kind in the world, held on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland each year. Of course an artist as popular as Haring would be commissioned for this event – in 1983, the lineup was frankly absurd: Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers, Freddy Hubbard, Buddy Guy, Herbie Hancock, Fats Domino, John Lee Hooker, Rickie Lee Jones and Willie Dixon were all performing.
385. New Haven Railroad / The Berkshires.

By Ben Nason (1915- )

The Berkshires, in western Massachusetts, are always spoken of with a sigh – the kind of dreamy sigh of relaxation that comes from propping oneself on a lawn chair, in the fresh winds, watching the the dappled leaves flutter before a New England church steeple and a cold, clear lake. Nason quite cleverly makes us desire this landscape all the more by obscuring it with a magnificent tree that occupies the center of the frame.
467. Are You Ready for Foods? 1989. ($840)

By Tadanori Yokoo (1936- )

Tadanori Yokoo’s psychedelic visions vibrate with moods, rather than messages – the moods of Shinjuku neon, pachinko clinks and subconscious desires deep in the historic memory of Japan. This piece blends elements of mirror-imaging, but without perfect symmetry, to ask the wonderfully creepy question in English, “Are you ready for foods?” One of the great modern works of advertising art, it preconditions the mind to stimulate the desire. In just the slightest of hints, there’s a Toyko telephone number, and open hours 11:30am – 10:45pm at the bottom, in the tiniest, most insignificant lettering, for an underground-exclusive feel.
All lots are available for viewing and bidding today!

PAI-LXXVI: Rare Posters Auction will be held October 28 at 11am EDT.