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Rare finds and unique works in Auction 82

Rare Finds And Unique Works In Auction 82

Our 82nd Rare Posters Auction is rich with rarities and unique works. Preview the lots before they go to auction on November 15!

1. Bridlington. 1925.
By William H. Barribal (1873-1956)
49 3/8 x 39 5/8 in./125.5 x 100.7 cm
Est: $8,000 - $10,000

Whether you view this scene as the isle of empowered women or a lure for single male travelers, one thing is certain: this poster is an utter charmer. The women have donned their Jazz Age beach finery and have taken to the sea with such enthusiasm that viewers must have felt compelled to board the next LNER train to Bridlington straight away. Barribal was a commercial artist who worked for Schweppes and Vogue; his wife, Gertrude Louisa Fannie Pitt, served as his model for many designs, including this one. If you look closely, you’ll notice that the women share common facial characteristics—all borrowed from Gertrude.

51. Exposition du Cycle. 1899.
By Pal (Jean de Paléologue, 1860-1942)
62 x 87 in./157.5 x 221 cm
Est: $4,000 - $5,000

One of Pal’s most exquisite beauties advertises a bicycle show; in typical Pal fashion, she’s draped in an intriguingly translucent gauzy cloth entirely insufficient to hide her charms. And if the girl isn’t awe-inspiring enough on her own, the sheer scale of this spectacular two-sheet design is sure to bowl you over.

78. Automobiles de Dion Bouton. 1906.
Anonymous
28 3/4 x 39 in./73 x 99 cm
Est: $3,500 - $4,000

This rare and fanciful design showcases various bicycles and automobiles constructed at Dion Bouton’s Puteaux factory as they compete in a nighttime race to the moon. The artist took his inspiration from Georges Méliès “A Trip to the Moon,” the 1902 experimental science fiction tale that is considered one of the most influential films in cinema history. We can see the same sense for the overtly theatrical and the sublime in this mesmerizing design. The artist’s initials, at lower left, appear to be H. B.

89. Grande Semaine d'Aviation / Rouen : Maquette. 1910.
Anonymous
32 1/2 x 48 in./82.5 x 122 cm
Est: $4,000 - $5,000

Rouen commissioned several posters for their 1910 air meet—this never-before-seen preliminary design apparently didn’t make the cut, but it is certainly worthy of inclusion in the annals of this historic event. While other designs show the soaring aircraft against the backdrop of the city’s medieval spires and towers, this designer opted for a perspective from within what is presumably the Rouen Cathedral. This vantage point allows us to feel the dynamic movement of the birds whooshing to join the airplane in the expansive open sky. “Fifty thousand spectators attended the Great Aviation Week of Rouen, with its two-mile circuit, to watch a dozen monoplanes and as many biplanes compete in the now classic disciplines: speed, altitude, and flight duration” (Affiches d’Aviation, p. 33). At bottom right, the artist has signed “Quo Vadis”—the Latin phrase meaning “Where are you going?”

126. Folies Bergère / Tous Les Soirs. 1869.
Anonymous
14 5/8 x 21 in./37 x 53.3 cm
Est: $1,700 - $2,000

This is the first poster ever created for the now iconic Folies-Bergère music hall. “Its archaic style and advertising message lead us to believe that this is the poster for the first performance (hence dating back to May 1869) or one immediately following the opening. The style is indeed romantic and unlike the much more powerful music hall posters which appeared shortly afterwards. A bergère (shepherdess) half opens the curtain which announces: operettas, sketches, one-acters, ballet, and song. Performances were given seven times a week at 7:30 pm. The price of a seat, 3 francs, included refreshments… A dancer covered with small bells appears from behind the curtain. The characters, the decor outlined in the background, the garlands of flowers, everything reminds us of the pleasures of the 18th century which the artist ‘E. B.’ (possibly the initials of E. Bar, a lithographic designer whose 1872 poster for the Théâtre des Menus-Plaisirs can be found at the Bibliothèque Nationale) must have taken from Watteau who inspired quite a few others, including Chéret!” (Folies-Bergère, 33).

214. Eau Minérale des Abatilles. 1926.
By Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942)
49 3/8 x 79 1/8 in./125.4 x 201 cm
Est: $4,000 - $5,000

“The sheer whiteness of the Abatilles design featuring an angelic being is meant to signify the purity of the mineral spring, an image that stands in stark contrast to the rather industrial beginning of the enterprise. In 1922, an oil company drilling a test hole in Abatilles, a section of the town of Arcachon on the Atlantic coast near Bordeaux, discovered instead a spring of pure water that proved to contain various health-promoting minerals. A bottling company was set up in 1925 to sell the water; it was acquired in 1969 by Vittel, which by then was already itself part of the Nestlé corporate family” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 268).

228. Bergson : Maquette. ca. 1930.
By A. M. Cassandre (Adolphe Mouron, 1901-1968)
6 3/4 x 9 3/4 in./17 x 24.7 cm
Est: $4,000 - $5,000

Cassandre takes a break from his routine of product and travel advertising to create an image of Henri-Louis Bergson, the French philosopher whose concepts about experience and intuition had a powerful impact on designers of the time. A question mark forms Bergson’s head—a symbol of the ever-inquisitive philosophical mind—while the text reads “Clear like Bergson.” Cassandre used his Bifur typeface, released in 1929, which has been credited with advancing the modernist and artistic reaches of typography. It’s also possible that this design was meant to promote the art and literary publication Bifur, which ran from 1929-1931. Though there is no record of Bergson contributing to the journal, it featured a wealth of famous writers and artists—James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Franz Kafka, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, among others—who could be considered as Bergsonian thinkers.

244. Trois Jolies : Painting.
By Jules Chéret (1836-1932)
24 7/8 x 15 3/8 in./63.2 x 39 cm
Est: $14,000-$17,000

Chéret renders three smiling ladies in washes of impressionistic oil paint. With wind rustling in their hair and flowers adorning their outfits, they’re a charming rosy trio. It’s always fascinating to see Chéret apply his creative vision to paintings, which add another level of skill and interest to his already prodigious amount of work.

264. Philips / Blue Hand. 1961.
By Eric
62 5/8 x 45 3/4 in./159 x 116.2 cm
Est: $2,500 - $3,000

A glowing blue hand emerges out of the darkness to flip a switch on a Philips transistor radio, while other models sit patiently in the background, waiting to burst out with music. The mystery, the saturated colors, and the bold forms of the radios make this a stunning design by Eric, who created several posters for Philips and other technology companies. Sadly, no other information exists on the artist.

388. Figures Décoratives : Drawing. 1904.
By Alphonse Mucha (1860-1939)
9 1/8 x 9 1/4 in./23 x 23.5 cm
Est: $14,000-$17,000

This is a signed drawing for plate 14 of Mucha’s seminal “Figures Décoratives,” the 1905 book that encapsulated his vision and artistic ethos, and became a road map for pupils and aspiring artists. “His marvelous instinct for composition and a gift for decoration were based on a profound knowledge of his craft… The ideal proportion of the bodies, the harmony between the movement of the head, limbs, and drapery, the sense of balance inherent in each pose reveal the essential laws that govern nature. [The process] of simplifying and at the same time exaggerating the sinuous pose, and suffusing it with charm can be detected when we compare the reclining female figure in Plate 14 with the panneau Rêverie de soir (Evening Reverie) of 1899” (Figures Décoratives, introduction). Today, the plates have become highly sought collector’s items; the original drawings, immediate products of Mucha’s deft hands, are the quintessence of the Master of Art Nouveau—rare, revered, and revelatory. Provenance: Grosvenor Gallery, London.

436. Nestlé’s Swiss Milk. 1895.
By Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen (1859-1923)
38 3/8 x 55 3/4 in./97.5 x 140.6 cm
Est: $17,000 - $20,000

Steinlen adapted his Lait pur Stérilisé for Nestlé’s Swiss Milk, which is “Richest in Cream.” How did that version come about? A speculative scenario: the original version had been printed in February 1894 by Verneau. The British manufacturer and poster promoter Bella was in Paris that spring to gather posters for his upcoming exhibition at the Royal Aquarium in London that October. He was so impressed with the design that he bought the copyright for the British market from Verneau and announced in his catalogue, under the listing of that poster solely, “This copyright is for sale.” In walks the head of Nestlé, who is equally impressed, and bargains with Mr. Bella to reproduce it, reportedly in an edition of 10,000 copies in the smaller format. Charles Hiatt, in October 1895, reproduced that version, without text, in his noted book. This particular printing, however, is a completely different production meant to advertise the lithographic skill of the printers rather than promoting milk to consumers. At the top, G. Gerin Fils have provided instructions to adapt the poster for commercial use: “Just cover these letters with the slip Nestlé.” This is the only known copy of this design.

447. Moulin Rouge / La Goulue. 1891.
By Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
48 3/4 x 67 1/4 in./124 x 171 cm
Est: $250,000-$300,000

Both Lautrec’s first poster as well as his first lithograph, the Moulin Rouge design marked not only a new direction for the artist, but for art and advertising in general. It is a masterpiece in every respect of the word, magnificently capturing the essence of two popular performers at the music hall: the dancer La Goulue and her partner Valentin le Désossé. By leaving the paper blank, Lautrec captures at dead center the heart and soul of the cancan: the rush and swirl of layer upon layer of lacy petticoats, erotically calling to the viewer. In a letter to his mother, Lautrec writes: “I am still waiting for my poster to come out—there is some delay in the printing. But it has been fun to do. I had a feeling of authority over the whole studio, a new feeling for me” (Lautrec by Lautrec, p. 90). This is the two-sheet version of the poster, without the top text banner. It should be noted that this is the way that it was sold in the 1890s. With the missing banner, it would have been too large for the print galleries and print collectors who began the collecting craze of the era. And how prized was this image at the time? Arnould, in his 1896 catalogue, sold it for the highest price of any French poster: 25 francs, which was 10 times the price of the Elles poster and five times the price of La Revue Blanche. It was rare then—and it’s rarer still today!

463. Le Rire: Au Moulin Rouge / Cha-U-Kao. 1896.
By Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
10 3/8 x 15 5/8 in./26.5 x 39.6 cm
Est: $10,000-$12,000

This is a hand-signed print with a dedication to Footit of the image that appeared in issue 67 of Le Rire, released on February 15, 1896. The limited-edition print shows the entry of Mademoiselle Cha-u-kao at the Moulin Rouge—and, naturally, she’s arrived on a mule, as all glamorous women do, when celebrating Mardi Gras. Cha-u-kao was shown as “La Clownesse asise” in the major print in the famed Elles suite.

472. La Vie Parisienne : Maquette. 1918.
By René Vincent (1879-1936)
12 3/4 x 17 in./32.5 x 43.2 cm
Est: $3,000-$4,000

Vincent was best known for his fashion illustrations; they portrayed the sophisticated people between the wars with a very special flamboyance, insight, and sympathetic treatment that resulted from his own high society status. In posters, this was mainly evidenced in the large body of work he did for the Bon Marché department store. As for his illustrations, these are best seen in the covers of La Vie Parisienne, like this naughty-and-nice depiction of a chic flapper girl telling the angels at her bedside, “You know, my little ones, he will be here tonight. He has an 8-day pass.” This is the complete issue showing the original artwork as the cover of the February 16, 1918 edition.

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