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Modern and Contemporary Posters
Innovative late 20th-century images

The recent past is rich with cultural and historic landmarks—and, of course, fantastically creative posters that commemorate them. From Philips technology to Pop Art, and Picasso to Andy Warhol, the 20th century is a fountain of inspiration.

292. Dentifrices Gellé Frères. 1980.
Artist: Jean Carlu (1900-1997)
21 x 31 1/2 in./53.2 x 80 cm
Est: $800-$1,000

As one of Carlu’s boldest designs, he brilliantly catches our eye and directs it unfailingly to the gleaming white teeth. The extreme stylization works so effectively that Carlu recreated the image in an edition of 200 copies in 1980.

298. Philips Television. 1951.
Artist: A. M. Cassandre (Adolphe Mouron, 1901-1968)
12 1/4 x 16 1/2 in./31 x 42 cm
Est: $1,000-$1,200

This unusual design by Cassandre was only ever used as a point-of-purchase display by Philips, the Dutch electronics firm. It’s a very intriguing first impression of television, which Philips began producing the year prior.

367. City Kids Speak on Liberty. 1986.
Artist: Keith Haring (1958-1990)
19 x 24 in./48.3 x 61 cm
Est: $1,200-$1,500

“On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, the organization City Kids asked Haring for a contribution. He created a 30-meter-tall banner that featured the Statue of Liberty. About one thousand children wrote on and colored in the outlines he drew. On July 2, in time for Independence Day, the banner was displayed on a high-rise that was under construction” (Haring Posters, p. 115).

379. The Mother of Us All. 1967.
Artist: Robert Indiana (1928-2018)
24 x 37 in./61 x 94 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000

The Mother of Us All—a 1945 opera by Virgil Thomson set to a libretto by Gertrude Stein—chronicles the life of Susan B. Anthony in a fanciful exploration of American history. In 1967, Robert Indiana was invited to design the set and costumes for the Center Opera Company at the Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis and several productions thereafter. Similar to his pop-art paintings, he employed flat primary colors, but took a more patriotic bent for this production: red, white, and blue banners; star-spangled pickets affirming the right to vote; and signage that draws on American advertising—all of which are imbued in this poster. This poster is hand-signed by Indiana and his assistant, Bill Katz.

382. Campeonato Mundial Football / Belgica vs. Estados Unidos. 1930.
Artist: Guillermo Laborde (1886-1940)
15 3/8 x 34 3/4 in./39 x 88.2 cm
Est: $2,500-$3,000

Using his design for the official poster for the first ever FIFA World Cup, Laborde also created posters like these to advertise individual matches—in this case, Belgium versus the United States on July 13, 1930. The U.S. won that match handily with a final score of 3-0. Rare!

387. Lincoln Center / 4th New York Film Festival. 1966.
Artist: Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997)
29 1/2 x 45 3/8 in./75 x 115.2 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000

While decidedly a Pop Art image, there are elements in this design which harken back to the Deco glamour of old movie palaces—a perfect blending of the vintage and the modern to help announce the 4th annual New York Film Festival.

471. Hommage des Artistes Espagnols au Machado. 1955.
Artist: Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
19 3/4 x 25 7/8 in./50 x 65.6 cm
Est: $1,200-$1,500

Antonio Machado was one of the leading figures of the Spanish literary movement known as the Generation of ’98, and he continues to be considered a national hero. Deeply introspective, symbolist, and psychological, his poems explore his own being as well as the wider human experience of the Spanish people. In 1955, 16 years after his death, a seminal exhibition was held at the Maison de la Pensée Française to pay homage to the poet’s life and career through paintings and sculptures by Spanish artists. Picasso was asked to design the announcement—not only because of his stature as a Spanish artist, but also because the exhibition committee thought his name would be good for publicity. Indeed, his design was also used as the cover for the exhibition catalogue, and has been reproduced so many times that it has become inextricably linked to the memory of Machado.

513. Perrier. 1983.
Artist: Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
23 3/4 x 17 5/8 in./60.7 x 44.8 cm
Est: $1,400-$1,700

In 1983, Warhol created a variety of images for Perrier, each taking the product and elevating it through his signature use of silkscreen color-washing. “These posters were intended for publicity in bistros and cafés in France. They won the French poster Grand Prix in 1983, the only award Warhol ever received for his work as a poster artist” (Warhol Posters, p. 85). This is the rare fuchsia image in the smaller format.

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