Aviation

There is an art…or rather, a knack to flying. The knack lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss.      – Douglas Adams

 

Introducing: one of the greatest collections of Aviation posters we’ve ever had. Our catalogue sweeps you from balloon rides at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 to the air shows of the 1910s. Strange airships appear, gliding over Europe, South America, and New York City. Bizarre seaplanes will fly you to India. Colin, McKnight Kauffer, Klein, Lucien Boucher, Rene Gruau, and other greats are well represented in over 70 aviation posters.

52. Vols de Nuit Sur Paris.
52. Vols de Nuit Sur Paris.
Artist: Jean Carlu (1900-1997) 29 1/8 x 39 1/8 in./74 x 99.3 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000.

Night flights over Paris: the romance of the idea, and the Cubist design, make this a poster to cherish, and marvel at. This is a rare early work by Jean Carlu, who later became one of the top posterists for Air France in the 1950s. He rose to the challenge of his profession even after losing his right arm in a 1918 road accident; Carlu was one of the first commercial artists to understand the value of strong visual branding. Around the time of this work, Carlu was designing the first label for Chateau Mouton Rothschild wine. Note: the hand-lettering on this poster was not done by Carlu.

63. KLM. 1935.
63. KLM. 1935.
Artist: Jan Wijga (1902-1908) 25 x 39 in./63.6 x 99 cm
Est: $2,000-$2,500.

A spectacular, throroughly extraordinary poster for “Normal Propellers”: a crazed aviator bids you a blurred hello through the cyclical whizz above 1900s Paris.

65. Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei. 1936.
65. Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei. 1936.
Artist: Jupp Wiertz (1881-1939)
23 1/8 x 32 7/8 in./58.7 x 83.5 cm
Est: $7,000-$9,000.

A haunting poster for the Deutsche Zeppelin-Reederei, advertising two-day travel from Germany to New York City. Emerging through a classic foggy New York-in-the-’30s morning, blue sky opens up around the Zeppelin as a shaft of golden light strikes the spire of the Empire State Building, in an imagining of its intended use as a dirigible mooring station. (It was ultimately never used for that purpose.)

67. Aviation Populaire. ca. 1937.
Artist: Geo Ham (1900-1972)
15 1/8 x 23 1/8 in./38.5 x 58.7 cm
Est: $1,000-$1,200.

Whee! That giant airman looks like he’s throwing so many paper planes into the sky, making flying look like child’s play: which is exactly what this poster is trying to achieve when he says, heroically, “Youth of France! Aviation calls you!”

42. Roubaix. 1911.
42. Roubaix. 1911.
Artist: Anonymous
200 x 120 1/2 in./482 x 306 cm
Est: $12,000-$15,000.

A masterpiece in every sense of the word, this dramatic bird’s-eye panorama seizes upon the public wonder and awe of flight to announce Roubaix’s International Expo of 1911. At the time, the Burgundian city was the most important textile center in France, and Roubaix’s vast wool factories stretch out along the center of the image. Toward the bottom, in the astonishingly detailed park, you’ll see the ornate temporary “palaces” built by other wool-trading nations for the exhibition, most notably Argentina and Australia. The breathtaking, swooping aerial theme wasn’t merely a ruse, of course: Roubaix was a stop along that year’s European Circuit Race (998 miles from Paris to Belgium, Holland, and England, then back to Paris). Roubaix even built an aerodrome for the event. From the lady balcony-gazing at left to the biplane diving from the rich midnight-blue sky, to every detail in between, this is one of the most epic posters of the period – unfathomably, by an unknown artist. What’s more: this is the only known copy of this tremendous poster!

This is just the beginning…
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(and 500 more!) at auction
Sunday, February 25, 11am EST
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