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 84th auction presents Art Deco works from the leaders of the genre: Cappiello, Cassandre, Colin, Domergue, Zig, and more.
37 3/4 x 57 in./95.7 x 144.6 cm
If a laundry detergent is capable of imparting us with the sunny glow and relaxed attitude of this young lady, then sign us up! Persil was, in fact, the first commercially available laundry detergent that combined bleach with detergent—a breakthrough product which allowed women like this muse to wear a white dress without a care. Goodbye, stains—hello, easy-breezy swinging. This is a two-sheet poster.
63 1/4 x 47 1/4 in./160.5 x 120 cm
Le Petit Dauphinois, “the largest daily newspaper of the French Alps,” was founded by Pierre Baragnon in 1885; its avowed aim was to keep an eye on the world and report back to its readership. And while Cappiello took a literal global eyeball approach to convey this concept (see PAI-IX, 103), Andry-Farcy takes an incredible graphic approach to show that the publication had a firm grasp of every single bit of information that was worthy of being telegraphically transmitted. “The monumental crimson hand and the exacting geometry of the converging transmission lines are strokes of genius, a rousing visual analogy for taking command of one’s own informational destiny” (Crouse/Deco, p. 104). The paper earned a reputation as one of the better regional publications in France. From 1919 on, Andry-Farcy served as the curator of the Museum of Grenoble.
24 x 39 1/8 in./61 x 99.3 cm
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.
78 1/2 x 122 1/2 in./199.4 x 311.2 cm
When M. Revel founded his Lyon-based umbrella company in 1851, one could purchase his wares in both silk and cotton. While the subject matter may seem slightly ordinary, the poster is one of Cappiello’s most ingenious and delightful designs. As effective as it is simple, one sees “the umbrellas braving the storm like black ships’ sails. All the elements of fine poster design are here: bold shapes, strong contrasts (the background is a surprising sunny yellow), tight yet lively composition, unusual perspective—and no more detail than necessary” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 236). Although the company closed its doors in the 1950s, this poster remains a testament to its once brilliant advertising campaign. This is the larger three-sheet version of the poster.
24 1/8 x 38 3/4 in./61 x 98.3 cm
A startling night profile of a lighthouse advertises the Folkestone-Dunkirk train ferry across the English Channel. It is signed as coming from the atelier of Cassandre, yet the master’s hand is clearly evident in this striking Art Deco design.
29 3/8 x 47 in./75.6 x 119.4 cm
Clearly influenced by Cubist and Dadaist aesthetics, the duo of Cavailles and Limouse conceived of this energetic design for a Mardi Gras masked ball at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. This particular event benefitted the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Cavailles and Limouse both studied at the Académie Julian and participated in various Parisian Salons; both Postimpressionist painters, they were members of the art group “Painters of Poetic Reality.” The two shared a studio for six years and held several exhibitions together. Rare!
36 7/8 x 58 3/8 in./93.6 x 148.3 cm
“This is a great example of Paul Colin’s Art Deco skills, executed with complementary diagonals, inviting, soft pastels, and a sense of pure smoking pleasure” (Crouse/Deco, p. 220).
108 1/4 x 55 3/8 in./275 x 140.7 cm
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.
24 3/8 x 39 in./61.8 x 99 cm
The Gatsby is strong in Domergue’s life and work. A resident of Monte-Carlo, swanning about with the glitterati was both his artistic subject and his life’s object. It was a rather ideal business model: illustrate the world’s most beautiful women on the Riviera, design fashion accessories for them, and organize elegant balls in which to show them all off. He became a local celebrity in the process. This is one of Domergue’s finest designs—a perfect balance of colors and forms as the flashbulb-Hollywood couple is caught by the paparazzi.
47 x 62 3/4 in./119.4 x 159.4 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.
24 5/8 x 39 3/4 in./62.5 x 101 cm
This nighttime image of the Normandie offers a very different experience from Cassandre’s poster of the same title—here, she quietly glides away from the glimmer of New York City. With six decks of cabin lights reflecting in the water, there is an element of romance combined with the usual magnificence of the ship. After the Cunard Line’s Queen Mary beat the Normandie’s speed records in August of 1938, French Line began promoting her as “the world’s most perfect ship” rather than the fastest. Such a description could not be better expressed than in this image.
25 3/4 x 38 3/4 in./65.5 x 98.5 cm
For a number of years, the annual spring festival in Seville was announced by the winner of a poster competition for the occasion. The 1934 prize went to Francisco Hohenleiter de Castro. Each year, the posters had to stay within a given theme; for this year, it was “raza brava” (gallant breed), hence the couple proudly showing off their regional costumes on a magnificently bedizened horse as they ride to Seville for the fiesta.
50 1/4 x 40 3/8 in./127.5 x 102.5 cm
For the health resort of Harrogate, just north of Leeds, we are offered an elegant scene of revelers strolling along the promenade in aristocratic contrasting colors. The resort is also known for its flowers, decorative parks, and gardens of which we are offered a teaser in this design. Born in Wales, Michael moved to Paris in 1899 and contributed drawings to Cocorico and other publications; in 1903, he moved to London where he illustrated many magazines and weekly papers. He designed few posters, but his image for Harrogate is timelessly sophisticated.
31 1/4 x 49 1/4 in./79.5 x 125 cm
While advertising the summer offerings at the Santa Eulalia store in Barcelona, this inventive Art Deco design could almost be the cover of a mystery novel. Using sharp angles and experimental text, Rey creates a most evocative scene. Rare!
34 3/4 x 23 1/2 in./88.5 x 59.6 cm
Still in production today, Söhnlein Rheingold is a German sparkling wine producer based in Wiesbaden. Founded in 1864, it took the name Rheingold from Richard Wagner’s epic Ring Cycle, emphasizing the company’s German heritage while also giving it a flair of the fanciful. Under Kaiser Wilhelm I, it became the official champagne with which to christen new warships in the country. Here, Rumpf shows an elegantly dressed lady sipping on the delicate beverage in a perfectly evocative German Deco style. This printing boasts vivid colors!
35 3/8 x 48 1/8 in./89.8 x 122.3 cm
One of several posters Schnackenberg created for this Munich-based ballet duo, this image promotes an act they dubbed “Light and Shadows”—a spin on the “Beauty and the Beast” theme. It is at once highly expressionistic and extremely tender, and employs a remarkable balance of emotions in a visually gripping composition. Schnackenberg borrows some of Lautrec’s silhouetting to create the menacing plane of the devil’s black shadow, while the girl’s figure—formed from the white of the paper—slashes through the darkness. The effect makes her appear candescent.