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Posters on Posters
Over 100 designs that exult in the art of lithography

“Posters on Posters” is our term for lithographs that advertise the art of the poster. Whether promoting a printing firm or an individual artist, these images give us an inside look at the printing presses, processes, and prominence of this art form in its heyday.

137. Die 6. 1914.
By Max Schwarzer (1882-1955)
35 3/4 x 49 1/8 in./91 x 124.7 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000

Published by the Socialist Federation of the Seine, this poster denounces the many despicable actions of fascist regimes while calling out Stalin specifically. The list of atrocities concludes with: “The French Communist Party is no longer a workers’ party, it is the Fifth Column of Stalinist totalitarian imperialism. Workers, beware! No collaboration, neither with fascist reaction nor with Stalino-fascism. With the Socialists, preserve your homes by fighting for Liberty.”

157. E. Pichot.
47 x 63 1/2 in./119.2 x 161.5 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000

The E. Pichot printing firm receives a mythical treatment, intoning that the art of lithography is not just a mundane necessity, but a luxury practice near godliness. Inserted is a cameo of the printing facility, which allows us to see their large-scale operations.

161. G. Ricordi. 1903.
23 x 17 3/8 in./58.5 x 44.2 cm
Est: $2,000-$2,500

The illustrious G. Ricordi printing firm allows us an intimate look at their inner workings. While a lithographer demonstrates his craft, two inquisitive women observe the process of creating a poster. Rare!

191. Stop 'em to Sell 'em / Subway Posters. 1943.
By Jean Carlu (1900-1997)
29 3/8 x 44 7/8 in./74.7 x 114 cm
Est: $2,000-$2,500

In 1943, the New York Subway Authority commissioned a series of posters from different artists to promote commercial advertising in its stations. Carlu’s entry was one of the best of the lot: the red, white, and blue hands simultaneously stop us in our tracks and convey the power of poster advertising. Carlu came to the United states in 1939 to work on the World’s Fair and remained here for 13 years.

265. Exposition d'Affiches / Genève. 1913.
By Jules Courvoisier (1884-1936)
25 3/4 x 38 3/4 in./65.4 x 98.5 cm
Est: $1,700-$2,000

A student of Grasset in Paris between 1902 and 1906, the French-born Courvoisier also studied in Munich, Frankfurt, Italy, and England before settling in Geneva in 1911. Although primarily a painter, he explored the field of graphic arts with book illustrations and posters, never straying from a figurative mode. This design for a poster exhibition in his adoptive city is an unusually fluid example of his work. The woman’s graceful posture is echoed in the curves of the posters unfurling about her—which is not good protocol if you’re a museum curator, but it makes for a fine image of passionate interest.

319. Imprimerie Camis. ca. 1900.
By Carl Hap (Karl Happel, 1819-1914)
37 3/4 x 27 1/2 in./96 x 69.7 cm
Est: $3,000-$4,000

Hap conjures up a veritable poster lover’s dream for the Camis printers. Surrounding the central painter are various muses, from angels to monsters, soldiers to mothers, and various Parisian characters. These are presumably the fodder for the finalized lithographs, examples of which are provided along the top. It’s truly a hit list of the greatest posters and brands of the era: Chocolat Menier, Maggi, Liebig, Peugeot, Absinthe Cusenier rank among the group. Camis further endorses their brand with a list of clients along the left and right sides. Metallic silver at top and bottom add another level of godliness to this ethereal design. Rare!

325. La Flèche Bréham. ca. 1900.
By Léon Hingre (1860-ca. 1929)
23 5/8 x 38 1/2 in./60 x 97.8 cm
Est: $3,000-$4,000

Though the product may be mundane, the advertisement for this printing ink is anything but banal: Hingre turns the chemical formulation into an alchemical wonder being overseen by a long-haired goddess in the most ornate gown. The plumes of smoke that surround her lend a dramatic and sumptuous quality to the scene.

338. Muenchner Plakat Kunst. 1931.
By Hermann Keimel (1889-1948)
33 1/2 x 47 in./85 x 119.5 cm
Est: $2,500-$3,000

This design of alternating red, white, and blue shapes forming a Cubist face lends movement and volume to this poster for the New Union of Poster Artists of Munich. “The image’s suggestion of three-dimensionality not only implies the many layers of the creative process but also calls to mind the impermanence of the poster medium, with its tradition of covering old placards with new ones on city walls and billboards in a continual evolution of promotional art” (Art Deco, p. 110). Keimel was one of the charter members of the association; he was a native of Munich, and was a teacher at the Advanced School for German Painting Craft there. This is one of the best posters ever created for a poster exhibition and a must for any serious poster collector.

354. Affiches Gaillard.
By Vincent Lorant-Heilbronn (1874-1912)
42 3/4 x 59 3/4 in./108.5 x 152 cm
Est: $2,500-$3,000

To demonstrate its design abilities, Affiches Gaillard produced this tour-de-force poster that treats the printing and bill-posting company as if it were a tourist destination. No convention of Belle Époque travel advertising is omitted: we have a welcoming female nude; vignettes of facilities in Paris, Amiens, and Asnièes; verdigris flowers and foliage; and a metal structure reminiscent of the era’s great attraction, the Eiffel Tower. Little is known of this artist who produced numerous posters for theatres, commercial products, and silent films.

426. Affiches Gaillard.
By Pal (Jean de Paléologue, 1860-1942)
85 1/2 x 120 1/4 in./217.2 x 305.3 cm
Est: $6,000-$8,000

Printers often relied on ovations of grandeur to advertise their practice, but Pal’s vision for Affiches Gaillard is literally grander than most. This stately four-sheet billboard makes sure to repeat the printer’s name multiple times: on the shield, on the curb, and in the repeating banners fading along the railway tracks. But of course, none of this really matters to the average viewer—Pal has made sure that his comely goddess captures our attention and keeps it on her. From her ornate petasos to her bare bosom, gilded armor to sheer skirt, she’s a veritable lithographic deity.

432. L'Estampe et l’Affiche. 1898.
By Jean M. Peské (1870-1949)
51 1/8 x 36 1/4 in./129.7 x 92 cm
Est: $8,000-$10,000

L’Estampe et l’Affiche was probably the most influential publication in the field of color lithography in France at the turn of the century and, under the editorship of André Mellerio, it did much to encourage poster art in the brief period of its existence. In an article in the magazine announcing the publication of this poster, the critic Crauzat is full of praise for it, indicating that its clear tones and design show the artist to be a master of decorative effect. As far away as London, The Poster magazine also lauded the work: “On the green summit of a cliff, two women—one lying down and the other sitting—giving a back view of themselves, look far away into the dying perspective of the ocean. Their dresses, respectively red and blue, give two beautiful contrasting notes to the ambient tonalities. Mountains encircle the bay, the calmness of which is disturbed only by the modulated swing of a smack. The colours are cleverly harmonised, and the light line of water produces a very good effect” (June 1898, p. 28). This is the rare version with complete text.

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