In the cold dark days of winter, it’s always good to see an auction coming along to cheer me up. But with January being the season of abstinence and all that, it’s probably good that it’s an American auction, at Swann Galleries, so without too much that absolutely has to be bought.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t things I like, though. The first two of these have an Indian slant. It’s obvious in the one above, but the only clue in the one below is that it’s printed in Madras.
Elsewhere, I am amused at the logical end to the idea of the house as a machine for living in, which is that the housewife must, of course, become a robot.
Francis Bernard, 1931, est. $600-900
This poster, meanwhile, is not just worth noticing because it’s advertising Burger Beer, although that’s quite funny enough.
Anonymous, c. 1955, est. $400-600
It’s also possibly the only piece of genuine 1950s graphics that I’ve ever come across which actually looks like the current pastiches of the period – that style so beloved of giftshops and eBay for fridge magnets and signs for your kitchen.
I never thought that existed in real life, but it seems it did, so there you go.
In amongst these diversions, there are also a handful of British posters too. Well I say British posters, but these two I suspect were designed for the American tourist market.
Anonymous, est. $500-750
I’ve recently been reading about Britain’s attempts to reinvent itself as a modern country in the 1950s but, in this instance at least, the project hasn’t been working. The design may be modern, but the images are all as traditional as can be: pageantry and pewter posts, policemen and, if we’re being honest here, peasants.
And don’t forget our quaint buses either.
Aaron Fine, est. $600-900
That is a rather wonderful poster though.
Finally, one entirely British poster. Well, apart from the fact it’s designed by an American.
McKnight Kauffer, 1924, est. $600-900.
But I think we’ll allow that one as landscapes don’t get much more British than that.
Next week: Harry Stevens and posters on display. If things go to plan, that is.
Well, the landscape that includes Big Ben/Westminster Tower and the House of Lords, could be more British, perhaps? I do agree that the ‘Welcome to Britain poster’ didn’t work – the images would mean very little to non-Britons, surely?
I’m not sure they’re even speaking to me that much, and I am British…