Vintage Posters Illustrated the Strength of the Poster Market at Swann Galleries

NEW YORK—Interest in ski posters was mountain-high at Swann Galleries’ February 12 auction of Vintage Posters, resulting in several new auction records. Also sought after were Art Nouveau images by Alphonse Mucha and other artists of that era.

Nicholas D. Lowry, Swann President and Posters Specialist, said, “The auction room was as crowded as we have seen it in recent years, and the results of this sale were robust, with several major (pleasant) surprises as posters soared above their high estimates. More than one participant observed that the poster market is alive and well at Swann and we humbly agree-especially in light of the numerous auction records that we set during the sale.”

The top three lots in the auction brought $30,000* each: Alex Diggelmann’s Gstaad, 1934, which had been estimated at $2,000 to $3,000; Alphonse Mucha’s The Flowers, a set of four decorative panels, 1898 and Leopoldo Metlicovitz’s Mostra del Ciclo e Dell’Automobile / Milano, a poster for Milan's 1907 automobile and cycle show. The Diggelmann and Metlicovitz were auction records.

Also selling for record-setting prices were Martin Peikert’s Champéry / Chemin de fer Aigle, 1955, $11,875 and Orsi’s VIIIe Olympiade / Jeux Olympiques / Paris, 1924, $10,625; while Jack Rivolta’s Up Where Winter Calls to Play / Olympic Bobsled Run / Lake Placid, circa 1938 and Ted Hunter’s Dartmouth Winter Carnival, 1937 set new benchmarks for any work by the artists at $7,500 and $6,000 respectively.

Additional ski highlights were Erich Hermes’s L’Hiver en Suisse, 1930 and Franz Lenhart’s Dolomiti / Cortina, circa 1930, $8,125 each, as well as Herbert Bayer’s Ski in Aspen Colorado, 1946, $7,250.

Art Nouveau beauties of note included the iconic Cycles Gladiator by an unknown artist, circa 1895, $17,500; a pair of volumes of the publication The Maîtres de l'Affiche [Masters of the Poster], 1896 and 1897, $10,000; Private Livemont’s luminous Absinthe Robette, 1896, $7,280 and Jean Misceslas Peské, poster for the magazine L’Estampe et L’Affiche, 1898, $6,250.

Rounding out the top lots World’s Fair posters such as Nembhard N. Culin’s Art Deco design for In 1939 / The New York World’s Fair, 1937, $6,000 and John Wenrich’s New York World’s Fair 1939, 1936, $5,500; artist exhibition posters, led by Cy Twombly’s Nine Discourses On Commodus at the Leo Castelli gallery, 1964, signed by Twombly in pencil, $4,420; Edouard Elzingre’s dynamic Automobiles Martini, circa 1910, $5,980; and Franz Würbel’s Olympic Games, the official poster of the 1936 Olympic Games, $5,250.

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 www.swanngalleries.com.

For further information, and to consign items to spring and summer poster auctions, please contact Nicholas D. Lowry at (212) 254-4710, extension 53, or via e-mail at posters@swanngalleries.com.

*All prices include buyer’s premium.
Auction Guide