Auctions | November 22, 2013

Wright Brothers Poster Soars at Swann Galleries’ Auction of Travel Posters


NEW YORK—The top lot in Swann Galleries’ annual auction of Rare & Important Travel Posters on October 18 was a scarce image by an unknown artist celebrating the Wright Brothers. The Nation, State and City Welcome the Worlds Greatest Aviators, 1909, which advertised an event in brothers’ hometown of Dayton, Ohio, sold for a record $35,000*. Other early aviation posters of note were Charles Rambert’s Grande Semaine d’Aviation / Rouen, 1910, at $8,750 and Handley Page Transport, Ltd., circa 1920, $7,250 in its auction debut.

Advertisements for glamorous ocean liners included A.M. Cassandre’s majestic Art Deco image for L’Atlantique, 1931, $23,750; Hubert Herkomer’s romantic night-time depiction of the Normandie / French Line, 1939, $22,500; and Frank Newbould’s To Europe via America / The “Big Ship” Route, circa 1920, $9,375, which captures the bustle of New York Harbor teaming with tugboats beneath the splendor of some of the world’s most famous buildings, $9,375.


A pair of winter resort posters by Roger Broders performed well: Les Sports d’Hiver / A St. Pierre de Chartreuse, a complex lithographic depiction of visitors to the Alpine resort of Perquelin gathering on the slope to watch a bobsled whiz by, 1930, $18,750 and Sports d’Hiver, showing stylish skiers arriving via the Mont-Blanc railway line, circa 1929, $10,000. Another desirable ski image was Des Diablerets / Suisse by an unknown artist, circa 1930, $6,000.

Warmer weather advertisements included Ze’ev Raban’s Tourism in Palestine / Come and See Erezisrael, 1929, which brought a record $13,750; the Gatsby-esque fun-in-the-sun poster Montauk Beach, circa 1929, $12,500; Edward M. Eggleston’s iconic bathing beauty for Atlantic City / America’s Great Seashore Resort, circa 1935, $7,000; and a pair of eye-grabbing Australian tourism pieces: Gert Sellheim’s modernist Sunshine and Surf / Australia, circa 1936, $11,250 and Percy Trompf’s elegant Australia / Million-Peopled Cities and a European Environment! circa 1935, which had never appeared at auction before, and sold for $10,625.

Drawing interest were two lots by Leslie Ragan, one a hand-painted tempera maquette for the poster New York / The Upper Bay from Lower Manhattan, circa 1935, the other a printing of that same poster. They brought $10,000 and $8,125 respectively, resulting in a new auction record for the poster.

Rounding out the top lots were Jean Dupas’s allegorical, Art Deco piece, Bordeaux, 1937, $8,125; Peter Irwin Brown’s horizontal-format Your Continental Holiday, 1932, $6,500; and M. Gundlach’s Southern California / Go via - Union Pacific System, circa 1920, $6,000.

For complete results, an illustrated auction catalogue, with prices realized on request, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc., 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to consign items to spring and summer poster auctions, please contact Nicholas Lowry at (212) 254-4710, extension 53, or via e-mail at [email protected].

*All prices include buyer’s premium.

First image: The Nation, State and City Welcome the Worlds Greatest Aviators, 1909, sold for a record $35,000 (including buyer's premium).

Second image: Roger Broders, Les Sports d’Hiver / A St. Pierre de Chartreuse, 1930, sold for $18,750 (including buyer's premium).