Modern and Contemporary
Over 30 exciting posters made by and for icons of the late 20th century.

From the 1950s-80s, the world witnessed an outpouring of revolutionary technologies, monumental events, artistic experimentation, and rock ‘n’ roll. These bold, gritty, funky, and playful posters reveal the energy of this intensely creative period, from the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine and The Concert for Bangladesh (see our star-studded hand-signed poster below), to the explosive New York art scene championed by Andy Warhol and Keith Haring.

122. Philips.
Artist: Anonymous
45 3/8 x 60 5/8 in./115.4 x 154 cm
Est: $1,400-$1,700

The cat made several appearances in mid-20th century Philips advertisements, always as a whimsical and endearing creature. In this French poster for the Dutch electronics company, our friendly feline is enchanted by a large fish, whose details are so clearly rendered on this television screen that the cat believes it to be real. Not to worry, kitty—Philips coyly reminds us that this version is safer: “c’est plus sûr!”

123. Beatles / Yellow Submarine. 1969.
Artist: Anonymous
52 1/2 x 76 7/8 in./133.2 x 195 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000

We all live in il sottomarino giallo, il sottomarino giallo… It may not roll off the tongue as easily, but this Italian poster for the Beatles’ trippy “Yellow Submarine” movie is a whimsical delight. In watercolor-like swathes of saturated color, this underwater scene of The Sea of Monsters and Pepperland undulates like an acid trip. Notable characters, including The Boob and The Snapping Turtle Turk, mill about amongst our abstracted friends, John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Though unsigned, all characters were designed by animator Heinz Edelmann. This is a two sheet poster.

124. All This and World War II. 1976.
Artist: Anonymous
27 x 41 in./68.5 x 104.2 cm
Est: $3,000-$4,000

Although the music documentary may not have been well received at the time of its release in 1976, this poster for “All This and World War II” is a truly rare and magnificent gem. It features original signatures by the cast, including John Lennon (with a unique doodle!), Paul McCartney, Elton John, Peter Gabriel, Tina Turner, Rod Stewart, Frankie Valli, Jeff Lynne, and five unidentifiable (but surely significant) signatures from other musicians. Rare!

125. The Concert for Bangladesh. 1972.
Artist: Anonymous
27 x 41 in./68.5 x 104.2 cm
Est: $1,500-$2,000

“The Concert for Bangladesh,” organized by George Harrison and Ravi Shankar, was a revolutionary humanitarian benefit event—the two concerts generated widespread awareness and considerable funds for relief efforts in Bangladesh. The 1971 concert was followed by an Apple Films concert documentary in 1972. This poster for the celebrated film is made even more thrilling with the addition of signatures from six of the performers, including Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, Carl Radle, and Leon Russell. Rare!

139. The New Yorker / New York at Night. 1979.
Artist: R.O. Blechman (1930- )
29 x 42 in./73.5 x 106.8 cm
Est: $1,400-$1,700

R.O. Blechman’s “New York at Night” is an elegant and refined depiction of the city that never sleeps. The buildings of midtown and lower Manhattan are gently outlined in black ink, while colored details draw attention to some of New York’s architectural wonders: Grand Central Station, the Empire State Building, and the Chrysler Building, which glow atop the water towers and spires that flit across the skyline like jewels. Blechman is an accomplished animator, illustrator, children’s book author, graphic novelist, and editorial cartoonist; he created 15 iconic covers for the New Yorker between 1974 and 1996. For another New Yorker poster, see Steinberg’s image, No. 365.

221. Herman Miller Picnic: 20 Posters. 1970-1989.
Artist: Steven Frykholm (1942- )
Each: 25 x 39 3/8 in./63.3 x 100 cm
Est: $14,000-$17,000 (20)

Frykholm, who became Herman Miller’s first internal graphic designer in 1970, is internationally recognized as one of the great graphic artists of the past fifty years. In his first year on the job, he produced the company’s summer picnic poster – an image that received such a warm response that it became a tradition. Each announces the annual event in a series of images highlighting various aspects of summertime food. They are all clean, bold, and bright examples of American Pop Art. This is a rare complete run of the series. These picnic posters are in the permanent collection of more than a dozen museums worldwide. This may well be your last chance to collect the entire series.

244. Absolut Vodka. 1986.
Artist: Keith Haring (1958-1990)
32 7/8 x 45 1/4 in./83.5 x 114.7 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000

As the legend goes, it was the mid-’80s in New York City, and Andy Warhol was at Studio 54. He gazed beyond the bar to the liquor on the wall, concentrated on the Absolut purity of the vodka bottle before him—and a game-changing ad campaign was born. Warhol selected Keith Haring as the second artist for the Absolut campaign, and he produced this shining, cheerful, One Nation Under a Vodka Groove design with the playfulness that only Haring can deliver. This is the version without the bottom text banner: “Absolut Haring.”

246. Montreux Jazz Festival. 1983.
Artist: Keith Haring (1958-1990)
27 3/4 x 39 3/8 in./70.6 x 100 cm
Est: $1,200-$1,500

Keith Haring designed a series of playful posters for the 1983 Montreux Jazz Festival (see No. 245 and 247); each one features a dancing figure with a slinky-like midsection and some variation of neon yellow, aquamarine, and a nearly hot pink shade of purple. At that year’s festival, jazz, blues, and Brazilian music were emphasized; performers included Buddy Guy, Fats Domino, Roy Ayers, Willie Dixon, Caetano Veloso, and John Lee Hooker. We imagine attendees felt just like this plum-colored dancing man: dizzied with delight.

250. Rain Dance. 1985.
Artists: Andy Warhol (1930-1987), Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997), Keith Haring (1958-1990), Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960-1988) & Yoko Ono (1933- )
22 x 31 in./56 x 78.7 cm
Est: $1,000-$1,200

Curated and organized by Keith Haring, Rain Dance was a benefit for UNICEF’s African Emergency Relief Fund: Pop Art’s contribution to pop music’s Live Aid that same year. This poster—now considered to be an iconic piece of the Pop era—stemmed out of Warhol’s system of collaborating upon the same canvas with a variety of his protégées. Here, he joins forces with Lichtenstein, Haring, Basquiat, and Yoko Ono to create a unified, exciting composition. “This poster reflects the créme de la créme of New York’s artistic and social circles in 1985. Water, so essential to combat drought and famine prevailing in Ethiopia, was the poster’s principal message and its theme, rain, is treated from different perspectives by each of the artists: graphic (Lichtenstein’s oblique lines), practical (Warhol’s umbrellas), ethnographic (the rain dance by Haring), political (Basquiat, combining the homophones rain and reign), and geographic (Ono, whose footsteps illustrate Africans’ long walks to reach rare water sources)” (Warhol Posters, p. 116).

289. Futbol Club Barcelona. 1974.
Artist: Joan Miró (1893-1983)
27 1/4 x 38 1/2 in./69.2 x 97.8 cm
Est: $1,200-$1,500

Born in Barcelona, Joan Miró led an inspired artistic career that pioneered Surrealism and dreamlike abstraction in painting, sculpture, and ceramics. But for fans of Barça, this is the artist’s crowning achievement: a celebration of the Barcelona Football Club’s 75th anniversary. If you can’t get Messi to hang at your place, this might be the next best thing.

397. Contrex : Maquette. 1976.
Artist: Bernard Villemot (1911-1989)
17 3/8 x 24 3/4 in./44 x 63 cm
Est: $2,500-$3,000

In this study for the final poster, Villemot reveals that the sunburn was a later addition to his sunbather, which here creates a more understated effect—though no less brilliant. The embrace of the water bottle is just as tender, if not more so, as she leans down as if whispering to the vessel. And the designer pillows are here just as textural and delightful. Without the later text requesting trust in Contrex, this scene becomes an intimate portrayal of a woman at rest. For another Contrex maquette by Villemot, see No. 398.

408. Bank / RCA Color Scanner. 1968.
Artist: Andy Warhol (1930-1987)
45 1/4 x 29 3/4 in./115 x 75.6 cm
Est: $1,200-$1,500

“Pretty as a pigture, huh?” In 1968, RCA came up with a novel piece of technology: a device that could scan camera film for printing. Warhol immediately saw the implications: the traditional processes of the graphic artist and lithograph designer would become obsolete, since one could lift an image directly from film to poster. Since Warhol’s own art involved messing about with photos, he must have looked at RCA’s invention with a wry sense of humor. So the poster he created is a multi-layered joke: a live pig is painted as a piggy-bank, photographed, and scanned, with all the fine detail of fur reproduced perfectly. Warhol then went one step further. As Warhol painted the pig at RCA’s ad agency J. Walter Thompson, Irwin Horowitz photographed it. Andy’s entire team from the Factory was there. Warhol then negotiated the film rights to the work, seizing back the means of production in a move both artistically and professionally savvy. If any of our readers have a copy of it, please call us.

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