Too many auctions

Today, for a bit of light relief, I’m going to write about some auctions that aren’t Morphets (although, fear not, a normal service will return later this week).

To start with, Wallis and Wallis down in Lewes are selling yet more of their seemingly inexhaustible supply of World War Two propaganda posters.

Pat Keely World War Two poster full production

I’m not going to go into much detail, partly because it’s much the same as the last three times, but mainly because the Wallis and Wallis website is so infuriating.  Most of the posters aren’t illustrated at all, and I can’t find out what anything made at the previous sales because it simply won’t tell me.

Navy Thanks You Pat Keely World War two propaganda poster

They have at least photographed these three rather fine posters that I think are by Pat Keely.  Mind you, I’ve had to conclude that from squinting at the signatures, because the descriptions are rather vague.  But I like them, and haven’t seen them illustrated elsewhere.

Pat Keely royal navy world war two recruitment poster

I’m also minded to try and advance to Air Artificer as well.  Any suggestions as to how?

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Swann Galleries are also having a poster sale.

A quick flick through the catalogue reinforces the point that Paul Rennie makes about his own collection in Modern British Posters,

British items were generally of little interest to international collectors and were, accordingly, less expensive to purchase

Fight your way through the swathes of American war posters and French Art Nouveau, but you still won’t find much from Britain here.

There are railway posters.

Skegness Railway poster from Swann Galleries

Of course there are railway posters.  Although this set (lot 230), by Pat Keely for the Southern Region just before the outbreak of war, are more interesting than the average.

Pat Keely Southern Region London railway poster

There are four in total, and they look even better en mass – a stylistic bridge between Art Deco and the simplifications of the post-war style.  Worth a look.

There are also London Underground posters too.  This is by Charles Burton, from 1930.

Charles Burton Chestnut Sunday LT bus poster

While this bus poster, by Fred Taylor, seems impossibly sleek and minimalist for 1923.  It’s wonderful.

Fred Taylor Harewood bus poster 1923

There’s some Hans Unger too, if all that’s a bit too pre-war for you.

Hans Unger Christopher Wren London Transport poster

It’s one half of a pair poster from 1957 and quite expensive at $400-600.  We paid £130 for both halves not that long ago so let’s see what the Americans think it is worth.

Aside from the expected, there are also a few interesting odds and ends, like these BOAC posters for Earls Court Motor Shows.  The first one is particularly good, and I’d love to know if anyone has any information on it.

BOAC earls court motor show poster

BOAC commercial motor show Earls Court poster

There are also, not for the first time, dozens of American motivational posters.  I’m rather intrigued by these, in a slightly horrified way.  Were they the from the war or the depression?  Were they produced by the government, or like educational posters, sold into workplaces?  Does anyone know and can tell me?

But I rather like this one, although for all the wrong reasons.

Spanish motivational poster

It’s not just the libel against the Spanish, although that’s quite funny on its own; it’s also the fact that I think I’d have the siesta and the work-life balance of the Spaniard over the American motivational poster any day.

Finally, there’s this, which is here for no other reason than I like it very much indeed.

Air India poster from Swann Auctions

It’s like an Indian Daphne Padden.  More of her stuff later this week, by the way.

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6 Comments

  1. mm
    Posted July 19, 2010 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Some background on Work Incentive Posters can be found at;

    http://www.internationalposter.com/gallery-exhibitions/made-in-america.aspx

  2. crownfolio
    Posted July 19, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    Perfect, thank you. Camp Americana is a great phrase for them.

  3. mm
    Posted July 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    I had not appreciated how big they were before. They must have had quite an impact.

  4. crownfolio
    Posted July 20, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I agree. But I do wonder what the workers thought of them? Were they inspiring, or merely irritating?

    Someone must have liked them, though, as quite a few of them survive.

    I also wonder whether they had any impact here. I’ve got a couple of British ones which seem to be related (perhaps I’ll post them one of these days). But did they have an impact on the way that ww2 morale boosting posters were thought of?

  5. mm
    Posted July 20, 2010 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Love the cheeky chap in the Air India poster. I’m sure I’ve seen him before. I’ve found these but they aren’t what I was thinking of…

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/152/399198098_c7e1af1994.jpg

    http://chandrakantha.com/articles/indian_music/filmi_sangeet/media/1966_Air%20India.jpg

    I can’t believe they were ever published! What was Air India thinking of?!

  6. crownfolio
    Posted July 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Blimey, what indeed? I’m not sure which one’s the stranger of the two…

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