As we enter 2018, the bicycle renaissance returns, while the internal combustion engine looks increasingly headed for obsolescence. Here, however, for our 74th auction, 20 bicycle posters and 18 auto posters coexist amiably, championing each of their transport modes with élan – and a bit of weirdness – and a true masterpiece in Loupot’s Cézanne-esque one-off for Voisin.
51 x 72 1/2 in./129.5 x 184.2 cm
Brash and bursting, Clouet’s poster for Cycles Americains certainly plays up the cultural characteristics of New Worlders for dramatic effect. The young woman busts through the canvas in her New York bike with a great shout of “Look at me!” And so we do, as it’s impossible to take one’s eyes off the action, which comes at you head-on.
20 3/8 x 33 in./57.7 x 83.8 cm
This Lady in Red would like to go cycling with you. Gaudy’s first poster was for a velodrome, and much of his career was spent creating cycling posters; but in this as with others, his real talent appears to be in giving the folds and contours of women’s dress a heft and a dramatic majesty.
23 5/8 x 31 3/8 in./60 x 79.6 cm
Founded in 1920 by the eccentric multi-millionaire French-Algerian industrialist Henri Dresch, Dresch motorcycles needed an equally memorable visual presence. This shadow-golem, sheltering one of Dresch’s fine pieces of machinery, epitomizes the coolness of Art Deco.
47 x 62 3/4 in./119.5 x 159.4 cm
Loupot, more than anyone else in the field of poster art, is a master of adaptation. Whereas most artists have a signature aesthetic, Loupot changes the nature of his own art to create an object in perfect tune with the spirit of the age, or the character of the consumer. In this respect, he was a perfect companion to Gabriel Voisin, the creator of Voisin Automobiles, who was an engineer with the soul of an artist. Educated at the Fine Arts School of Lyon, Voisin built seaplanes until he grew horrified at their use in war, and dedicated himself to creating drivable works of art. In response, Loupot has given us an image straight from the mind of Cézanne, but with the steely form of the Voisin landing upon it like modern sculpture in a poet’s Elysian grove. In this year of 1923, Voisin introduced the wildly experimental Voisin Laboratoire Grand Prix Car, and Loupot created a second poster for Voisin with a completely different character (see PAI-LXXII, 275). There’s nothing else even remotely like this Cézanne-esque piece in the rest of Loupot’s oeuvre.
55 x 77 in./139.7 x 195.7 cm
In this action-packed two-sheet offset poster of the film biography of Jean-Manuel Fangio, we see the world champion in his red Maserati 250F, speeding along the race course, oblivious to the crashing cars around him.