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Divine Rarities

Divine Rarities

Our 84th Rare Posters Auction is strong in the “rare” department. Explore our selection of the most exclusive and never-before-seen works available in our July 20 sale.

11. Terrot / Bicyclettes de Tourisme. ca. 1900.
By Francisco Tamagno (1851-1933)
38 x 54 1/4 in./96.5 x 137.7 cm
Est: $1,400-$1,700

Tamagno presents a strong case for a couple’s getaway on two wheels: this stylish pair has stopped at the beach to take in the sunset over Mont-Saint-Michel. Tamagno often featured a stylish turn-of-the-century lady flippantly cruising away from her slower male admirers, but it’s nice to see his leading lady has found an equally adept companion. The text here lets us know that Terrot has received “first prizes in all the competitions.”

37. Luftschiffahrt Ausstellung. 1909.
By Alfred Nathaniel Oppenheim (1873-1953)
23 3/8 x 35 1/4 in./60 x 89.6 cm
Est: $3,000-$4,000

“As an important commercial, industrial, financial and publishing center whose annual fairs achieved world renown, Frankfurt am Main was a logical site for Germany’s first aeronautical exposition. The show was held at a time when the novelty of flying had seized the imagination of the public and aroused much interest in the possibilities of future travel by air. Orville Wright, in the summer of 1909, had come to Berlin under the auspices of the Berliner Lokal Anzeiger to demonstrate his biplane before Kaiser Wilhelm II and to give Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm a ride. The Crown Prince was the first member of the Royal Family to fly. That same year, Hans Grade, a pioneer of flight who had succeeded in making a hop on a triplane in 1908, gave a historic first to Germany by carrying the world’s earliest recorded piece of airmail… Pictured in the poster is Frankfurt’s red sandstone Dom, or cathedral… In the foreground is a Voisin biplane, probably reflecting the impression Frenchman Armand Zipfel made in this type craft… the twenty-six-year-old aviator was acclaimed as the first to ascend in an aeroplane in Germany. The air-ship betokens a German obsession with Zeppelins” (Looping the Loop, p. 37).

45. Air France / De Jour et de Nuit. 1938.
By Lucien Boucher (1889-1971)
39 x 24 3/4 in./99 x 62.7 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000

“Lucien Boucher became the ‘Mr. Planisphere’ of Air France, making a large number of them between 1934 and 1962. Until this point, posters sold either a destination (Africa, the Orient, Europe) or a product (the Air France company). They then became works of art that, incidentally, showed that the French network covered the world. They had planes and shrimp in them, the sky was there by default (the definition of a planisphere is that we see the earth from above, from the sky) and the continents were now illustrated by monuments, genre scenes or emblematic animals… Sometimes these [Air France] networks were drawn on a celestial chart with constellations replacing the continents. Until then master of the skies, the airplane (Air France’s of course) had metaphorically become master of the world, even the universe… If we stand back and look at a distance at this network drawn on the celestial chart, we have the strange impression of seeing the world projected onto the sky… The result is astonishing, this magnificent representation of the signs of the Zodiac becoming a mirror in which the earth suggested by the Air France routes is reflected” (Air France/Dream, p. 91).

49. Pan Am / Bermuda. ca. 1947.
By Boris Artzybasheff (1899-1965)
27 1/2 x 42 in./70 x 106.7 cm
Est: $6,000-$7,000

In 1939, Pan Am began to offer flights to Europe via Bermuda—but after the war, England was reluctant to host American flights to their territories, at least not until the British had their own planes to travel there first. In 1945, the American and British governments met in Bermuda for negotiations, resulting in the Bermuda Agreement, which set the precedent for about 3,000 other international agreements regarding air travel. Once that was settled, Pan Am launched their round-the-world trips on the Lockheed 749 Constellation. Artzybasheff created this stylized and seductive design to lure travelers to the newly available islands of Bermuda. Like a finely detailed embossment, his mermaid carves her way around the territory, mimicking its shape, which is again echoed in the luscious Easter lilies opening up to the sky.

111. Buy War Bonds / Dear God Keep Them Safe! 1942.
47 x 35 3/4 in./119.3 x 90.8 cm
Estimate: $7,000-$9,000

This harrowing image was published by the Kroger Company, based in Cincinnati, Ohio. Apparently, the grocery store chain decided that blood and gore were unsuitable for their propaganda purposes, so this anonymous artist found another terrifying method of spurring passersby into action. After all, if the battle field feels too distant, then Americans could at least relate to the urgent message of keeping their children safe, and hopefully buy war bonds to support the effort. Private companies produced a number of propaganda posters during World War II, but since they were printed in much smaller numbers than posters issued by the U.S. government, few copies remain.

128. Buffalo Bill’s / Pawnee Bill’s / Cowgirl : Maquette. 1912.
8 1/2 x 38 in./21.6 x 96.5 cm
Estimate: $4,000-$5,000

This painting is the preparatory work for a poster advertising Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Pawnee Bill’s Far East (see inset). Towards the end of Buffalo Bill’s career, he teamed up with Pawnee Bill for one last hurrah. But instead of depicting the male leaders—as most posters did—this artist focused on a lovely female member of the troupe, which reinforces her vigor and independence. The final poster, a 1/3 sheet upright, was printed by the United States Lithograph Company’s Russell-Morgan plant.

129. Buffalo Bill’s / Pawnee Bill’s / Indian Maiden : Maquette. 1912.
8 1/8 x 38 in./20.2 x 96.5 cm
Estimate: $4,000-$5,000

A companion piece to the previous lot, this sublime painting was also a study for a finalized poster for Buffalo Bill and Pawnee Bill’s combined performances (see inset). As in the previous painting, this portrait celebrates feminine strength and sovereignty, but the emphasis here is on Native American prowess. In fact, Buffalo Bill was a strong advocate for Native Americans. In closing his autobiography, “Buffalo Bill’s Own Story,” he wrote: “The Indian makes a good citizen, a good farmer, a good soldier. He is a real American, and all those of us who have to share with him the great land that was his heritage should do their share toward seeing that he is dealt with justly and fairly, and that his rights and liberties are never infringed by the scheming politician or the shortsighted administration of the law” (p. 327-328). That sentiment is just as relevant today. The final poster from this image was also printed by the United States Lithograph Company’s Russell-Morgan plant, and its title (“Indian Maiden”) also appears verso in the printer’s notation.

189. George Foreman vs. Muhammad Ali. 1974.
38 1/2 x 54 1/2 in./98 x 138.2 cm
Estimate: $5,000-$6,000

This is the English language printing of the poster promoting the legendary “Rumble in the Jungle,” held in Kinshasa, Zaire on October 29, 1974. One of the truly titanic events in the history of sports, the underdog (but crowd favorite) Ali played rope-a-dope with the sledgehammer-fisted Foreman before delivering the knockout blow in the 8th round. This fight was the world’s most-watched live television broadcast at the time with an estimated audience of 1 billion viewers worldwide, including a record estimated 50 million viewers watching the fight pay-per-view. This poster includes a tip-on for the date change from September 25 due to an injury Foreman experienced.

217. Dunkerque. 1929.
By Roger Broders (1883-1953)
24 x 39 1/8 in./61 x 99.3 cm
Est: $17,000-$20,000

The rarest of all Broders posters, it’s also the only image Broders created for the Chemin de Fer du Nord—though the railroad is nowhere to be seen. Instead, he gives us the view from an elegant couple’s yacht pulling out of the harbor. The contrast between the modern (both people and ships) and the medieval (the spire of the Old Town Hall and the little skiff at right) makes Dunkirk all the more interesting and mysterious.

230. Chocolat Klaus. 1903.
By Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942)
76 3/4 x 99 in./195 x 251.5 cm
Est: $17,000-$20,000

This is the extremely rare 2-sheet format, without the bottom two sheets that displayed the product’s name. “It is with this poster, printed in 1903, that Cappiello firmly established himself as the master of the modern poster—if not modern advertising itself. He begins to slowly distance himself from caricature, not only in preoccupation but also in its form. With a newfound flamboyance of style and imagination, the artist pursued the posterist’s goal with a clarity and purpose that was to set him apart from all his colleagues. A green lady on a red horse… to sell chocolate! Preposterous! Precisely! So very preposterous, so very incongruous in fact, that the message would be indelibly etched in the consciousness of the viewer. So powerful was the graphic message that it became the trademark of the Chocolat Klaus company—and remains so to this date. With this poster, Cappiello declared—for all future posterists and commercial artists—a new freedom from the restrictions and limitations of the previous realist and idealized realist renderings” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 66). Only one other copy of this printing is known to exist.

297. Cunard White Star / “Queen Mary.” 1936.
By Tom Curr (1886-1958)
108 1/4 x 55 3/8 in./275 x 140.7 cm
Est: $50,000-$60,000

The Queen Mary and Manhattan: a magnificent pairing of might and modernity. The towering New York skyline makes the ship’s stature all the more impressive, as indeed she was: her overall length was 1,019 feet and she measured 118 feet high. The Queen Mary made her maiden voyage on May 27, 1936 from Southampton to New York. During World War II, she and the Queen Elizabeth were the largest and fastest troopships, often carrying as many as 15,000 men in a single voyage. After the war, she resumed passenger service until she was retired in 1967. Curr’s depiction of the ship is both conceptually and literally impressive: this enormous poster has hand-painted text, and is one of only two known copies.

303. Les Petits Lits Roses. 1933.
By Kees van Dongen (1877-1968)
34 1/2 x 51 1/4 in./87.6 x 130.2 cm
Est: $4,000-$5,000

Van Dongen’s most famous poster is Bal a l’Opéra des Petits Lits Blancs, created to advertise a charity ball for a children’s hospital. In 1933, the city of Toulouse decided to host a similar event with the same charitable goal. “Les Petits Lits Roses” refers to the city’s colorful building stones, which earned it the nickname “the pink city.” Van Dongen does not take that prompt literally, but instead gives us a rosy baby with a pink rose to melt the hearts of passersby. Van Dongen was primarily a Fauvist painter before he took up portraiture.

344. Stuhr’s Caviar. 1909.
By Ludwig Hohlwein (1874-1949)
29 3/8 x 40 7/8 in./74.6 x 104 cm
Est: $6,000-$8,000

Hohlwein’s plump gourmand is on the verge of childlike jubilation. He is so overjoyed with the arrival of not one, but three varieties of Stuhr’s caviar that he can’t help but giggle like a schoolgirl and rub his well-rounded tummy in anticipation. The scene is such a delight that one can’t help but get swept along with its infectious ebullience, regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of the salty sturgeon treat.

359. St. Raphaël. 1938.
By Charles Loupot (1892-1962)
46 5/8 x 62 1/2 in./118.5 x 158.5 cm
Est: $40,000-$50,000

Exceptionally rare. Loupot launched into work for St Raphaël Quinquina (an apéritif in red and white varieties) with a series of four posters using these two characters, a portly waiter in red, and a taller, thinner waiter in white. In the first of the series, the characters are floating high above a Chagall-esque Paris; in the second, they’re leaning back, at rest in a café; this one, the third, is the first in which they are reduced to pure Cubist abstractions. “Compared with the two previous posters, it could be said to be a call to order” (Loupot/Zagrodski, p. 104).

421. Corsets “Le Furet.”
By Manuel Robbe (1872-1936)
39 1/4 x 55 in./99.6 x 139.8 cm
Est: $5,000-$6,000

For Le Furet corsets, Robbe gives us a wistfully intimate portrait of a woman at her vanity, exquisitely detailed and frosted with the romance of midsummer hues. It’s a gorgeous design, from the silver-topped crystal jars on the dressing table to the unaffected demeanor of his primper. Robbe was known mainly for producing a great many decorative prints in a bold, robust style. His posters are rare, and show an incredible flair for compositions and use of simple colors.

454. La Goulue et sa Sœur. 1892.
By Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901)
15 x 19 3/4 in./38 x 50.2 cm
Est: $60,000-$70,000

This is the very first limited edition print by Lautrec, one of 100 signed and numbered copies, with Ancourt’s stamp. It was published “by the art-dealers Boussod, Valadon et Cie., where Lautrec’s old friend and later biographer, Maurice Joyant, was manager. The print was offered for sale in October 1892 for 20 francs… As early as July the artist claimed to be so far highly satisfied with the results of his experiments in the field of colour lithography: ‘My little efforts have turned out perfectly and I’ve caught onto something which can lead me quite far—so I hope” (Adriani, p. 28). Shown entering the Moulin Rouge is La Goulue (Louise Weber, 1870-1929) with her sister, Jeanne Weber. As opposed to her audacious cancan in the prior year’s Moulin Rouge poster, she is demurely entering the music hall with her trademark chignon piled high on top of her head. Much as he did with Aristide Bruant, Lautrec shows us La Goulue from behind and the effect in both cases is to strengthen the position and personality of the performer—so well-known, so self-assured that they can show us their backs and get away with it. It’s a rare and exquisite print.

500. Deutschland. ca. 1927.
By Jupp Wiertz (1881-1939)
25 1/4 x 40 in./64 x 101.5 cm
Est: $1,400-$1,700

This rare image shows the Berlin Gedächtniskirche in her full glory. Built in the 1890s, the church was badly damaged in a 1943 bombing raid, resulting in the severe loss of the spire. This battered spire has been retained as a reminder of the ravages of World War II, and the church is now called the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church, although Berliners nicknamed it “der hohle Zahn” (the hollow tooth). Wiertz transports us back to prewar Berlin, when the city’s famous architecture was still in tact, and the broad streets were bathed in the glow of neon light.

View All Lots in our July 20 Auction
Live auction begins July 20 at 11am EDT
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