Art Nouveau, Travel Scenes, and War Posters at Swann Galleries’ Vintage Poster Auction August 5


New York—Summer is in full swing and bright images are out in force for Swann Galleries’ largest August auction of Vintage Posters to date. 

    With almost 700 lots, the two-part auction scheduled for August 5 will feature several vivid and vivacious works by theatrical French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, including the iconic Salon des Cent, 1895 (estimate: $40,000 to $60,000), which depicts a young beauty who captured the artist’s attention on a summer boat trip from Le Havre to Bordeaux. Also in the sale are Confetti, 1894, ($30,000 to $40,000); La Revue Blanche, 1895, ($20,000-$30,000); and the intriguing Qui? / L’Artisan Moderne, 1896, ($20,000 to $30,000) among others.


    Another beloved and iconic artist, Czech Art Nouveau innovator Alphonse Mucha, is well represented in this sale. Of particular interest is Times of the Day, 1899 ($30,000 to $40,000), four decorative panels, mounted on a folding beechwood screen, showing a young woman at various points in her day. Mucha’s third and final allegorical take on The Seasons, 1900 ($10,000 to $15,000) is also sure to garner much attention. 

Travel posters continue to delight collectors with happy scenes touting well-loved locations. This sale features more than 20 Ocean Liner images, including an obscure poster by Rhys Williams, P & O / Ceylon, India, Egypt & France ($700 to $1,000), with a backdrop of the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Other striking travel posters include Geo Ham’s Monaco, 1948 ($6,000 to $9,000) depicting a racecar speeding in front of merlon-topped stone walls, and [Sutro Baths], by an unknown designer, 1896 ($12,000 to $18,000) which shows bathers lined up to frolic in placid blue-green waters. 

    Bright beach and resort posters feature tons of summer fun. A. Defilis’ floral and sunny Valencia / Playa de Mediterráneo ($3,000 to $4,000) and Gert Sellheim’s Australia / Surf Club, circa 1936 ($2,000 to $3,000), give a playful view into the beaches of yesteryear. 

    Wrapping up this immense auction are historically significant World War I and II posters. Swann President and Director of the Vintage Posters Department, Nicholas D. Lowry said, “Proud, patriotic, bold and poignant, this year's offering of propaganda posters is a snap-shot of world military history in the 20th century as well as a visual parade of the important artists who helped countries mount and wage wars in the years before television and even radios.” The selection includes H.R. Hopps striking image Destroy this Mad Brute / Enlist, circa 1917 ($15,000 to $20,000) depicting the horrors of a German invasion as a King Kong-like Gorilla. Other notable war posters include K.M. Bara’s You Are Wanted by U.S. Army, circa 1918 ($4,000 to $6,000) and Howard Chandler Christy’s If You Want to Fight! / Join the Marines, 1915 ($2,000 to $3,000). 

The auction will be split into two halves, beginning at 10:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, August 5. The posters will be on public exhibition on Thursday, July 30, from 10-6; Friday, June 31 from 10-5; and Monday and Tuesday August 3 and 4 from 10-6. 

An illustrated catalogue, with information on bidding, will be available for $35 from Swann Galleries, 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010, or online at

For further information, and to arrange in advance to bid by telephone during the auction, please contact Nicholas D. Lowry at (212) 254-4710, extension 302, or via email at Live online bidding is also available via

First image: H.R. Hopps, Destroy This Mad Brute / Enlist, circa 1917. Estimate $15,000 to $20,000.

Second image: Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Confetti, 1894. Estimate $30,000 to $40,000.

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