In the 1920s and ’30s, culture and design aesthetics changed around the world. The first World War had ended; the stock market boomed; cabaret culture and jazz music proliferated. Art Deco responded to this renewed sense of possibility and freedom by embracing experimentation, bold forms, geometry, and avant-garde typography. Our 81st auction presents Art Deco works from the leaders of the genre: Cappiello, Cassandre, Colin, Gesmar, Mauzan, and more.
61 5/8 x 47 in./156.5 x 119.2 cm
East meets West in this magnificent Brunelleschi design for this department store’s summer sale. From its floral and avian elements to the flattened perspective that calls to mind the woodblock prints of Hiroshige, virtually everything in the poster appears to have been touched by an Asian influence. Everything, that is, except for one major ingredient: the lithe and lovely French beauty seated at right who presumably has all of her fashion desires fulfilled by the Palais de la Nouveauté. Attracted by the Exposition of 1900, the Tuscan-born Brunelleschi moved to Paris and quickly established himself in the circle of writers and artists of the Latin Quarter. His stylized drawings appeared regularly in Gazette du Bon Ton, Le Rire, Vie Parisiènne, Fémina, and other fashion journals of the day. But, as much as he was a Parisian figure, Brunelleschi’s Italian roots were usually evident. The influence of his academic studies in Florentine color and 18th-century Italian design showed up in his wildly imaginative costumes for the Folies-Bergère, operas, and operettas. Rare!
40 x 30 1/8 in./101.7 x 76.5 cm
This exceptionally rare and important poster advertises an exhibition devoted to color. Printed in black-and-white, the rainbow and highlighted green area are all hand-tinted. The show itself featured some of the most important avant-garde artists of the era, including Kandinsky, Marc, Delaunay, Macke, Braque, Picasso, Klee, Gris, Naun, and Nolde. Interestingly, a list of the honorariums paid to the participants reveals that Campendonk received 560 marks for his contributions (which included this poster), while Kandinsky received a mere 200.
30 x 46 1/4 in./76.2 x 117.5 cm
In the 1920s, Berliet’s slogan was that they produced luxury cars “for the price of a small car,” as demonstrated by Cappiello’s high-class lady holding the prospectus of just such an auto with that precise motto below. After 1945, Berliet concentrated on trucks and buses and was absorbed into the Renault firm in 1960.
47 x 63 in./119.3 x 160.2 cm
“Opens the appetite,” Bonal claims, and Cassandre quite literally depicts this. Founded in 1865, Bonal is a sweet vermouth-like apéritif wine, infused with quinine, gentian, and many of the herbs featured in Chartreuse. This is the second version of the image, printed two years after the original with slightly different coloration.
46 1/4 x 62 1/2 in./117.5 x 158.8 cm
“Luna Park was an amusement park at the Porte Maillot, near the Place de l’Etoile. Its director was Leon Volterra, who was the most important influence on the Parisian entertainment business for 30 years, as head of the Olympia, the Lido, the Théâtre de Paris, the Marigny, and other establishments. It was at Luna Park, on June 29, 1928, that a night of festivities was planned to raise money for a charity for needy, retired actors. Colin, as he was to do for so many groups and on so many occasions in the future, donated his talents to this worthy cause and in the process created a most delightful poster and—since it looks like it’s going to be a fun evening and we’d want to go there for sure—a most effective poster as well” (Colin, p. 8).
12 5/8 x 19 3/8 in./32 x 49 cm
The Brooklyn Bridge bursts with activity in this boldly geometric two-tone design—an image that seems far ahead of its time, and is perhaps more akin to a pop art comic book scene. De Coulon promotes the United States compendium from the Larousse Collection, of which little information appears to exist—but it hardly matters. The New York harbor scene is brilliant on its own.
47 1/4 x 62 3/4 in./120 x 159.5 cm
This imaginative poster promotes a film by Jean Epstein (1897-1953), a visual poet of cinema. After arriving in Paris from his native Poland, Epstein directed a series of silent films of surpassing beauty and grace. He had less success with sound films, but they still have his imprint on them. Here, the infatuation of “The Man with the Hispano” (Jean Murat) with Marie Bell, shown as a blue face hovering over him, is captured most effectively.
46 1/2 x 62 1/4 in./118.2 x 158 cm
Ooh, what is that you’re smoking, Mistinguett? One of the rarest of Gesmar’s designs for the cabaret star, this image shows her flirtatiously smoking a pearl-encrusted pipe, glancing coyly—or is that wearily?—over her shoulder. She’s shown in the “Bonjour Paris” revue of 1924-25. Gesmar also designed her costumes, beginning at the age of 16.
45 5/8 x 60 1/8 in./116 x 152.7 cm
In one of Gesmar’s most dazzling—and elusive—designs, this beauty dressed seemingly in nothing but beads invites us most tantalizingly to a charity ball at the Opera sponsored by the newspaper L’Intransigent. As is hinted at by the snoozing tikes below, this famous annual event benefitted a children’s hospital. This is the larger format—and rare!
53 3/8 x 77 1/4 in./135.6 x 196.2 cm
Mauzan invents a clever solution for the tired stenographer: don a mask that automatically does the work for you with no furious typing needed. His imagined telekinesis allows transcription “from brain to paper for the fastest way!” Stenographers, after all, had to meet strictly regulated words per minute at very high accuracy using shorthand. Grandjean was a French brand that advocated for workplace speed and efficiency, and Mauzan certainly takes that initiative to the next level. This is a two-sheet poster and rare!
46 1/2 x 123 1/2 in./118 x 313.6 cm
“It was in this revue, ‘Folies en Folie,’ that Mistinguett created her most famous song, ‘C’est vrai’ (It’s true). Colette, writing a review of this in Le Matin, ends a laudatory article as follows: ‘She is a national property. This year she still has this gait which reminds us of Réjane’s, her pupils the color of the chicory flower, her long legs, her unimpeachable set of teeth, her cheerful smile and her sentimental expression. [Selten,] a regular collaborator of the Folies-Bergère… was given the honor of producing the poster for the show. He did a fine job. Two rows of boys shaded from grey to black surround the Miss. Three hands (two black and one grey, a skillful color scheme) try to hold her. She—frail but delighted—smiles. Her arms are covered with the usual bracelets, her famous legs (at the time insured for the price of a private house on the Champs-Elysées) are barely hidden by a veil’” (Folies-Bergère, p. 12). This is a two-sheet poster with the “Folies-Bergère” tip-on missing.
30 1/2 x 45 1/2 in./77.3 x 115.6 cm
At the center of this poster, a conductor—yes, that’s him with the baton—raises his hands, signaling that the symphony is about to commence: the second ever AAAA Ball (Aide Amicale Aux Artistes, or “friendly help to artists”). Numerous benefits and balls for artists were held in Paris around this time; this one was an overture to Russian artist emigrées from the Bolshevik Revolution. The artist, Marie Vassilieff, preceded them, arriving in Montparnasse in 1907, opened her own atelier in 1912, and collected works by Chagall, Modigliani, Picasso, and Léger. She was a nurse for the French Red Cross during World War I, and painted the ornamental panels for the pillars in the dining room of La Coupole. She exhibited puppet portraits in London in 1920 and in Paris in 1923; these were obviously inspiration for this 1924 poster.