Anglo-American relations

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.

IR INDIA / FLY YOUR FREIGHT.  40x25 inches, 101 1/2x63 1/2 cm. Bombay Fine Art, Bombay vintage poster
Anonymous, est. $400-600

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.

vintage commercial poster IT'S KODAK FILM TIME.  29 3/4x20 inches, 75 1/2x51 cm. Prasad Process LTD., Madras.
Anonymous, est. $400-600

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 (1900-1979) VIII SALON DES ARTS MÉNAGERS. 1931.  38x24inches, 97x61cm. Editions Paul-Martial, vintage poster
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.

BURGER BEER / HAVE FUN IN SOUTH CAROLINA. Circa 1955. vintage poster
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.

frdge magnet

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.

vintage poster WELCOME TO BRITAIN.  39 1/2x25 inches, 100x63 1/2 cm. British Travel Associatio
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 (DATES UNKNOWN) TO LONDON BY JET CLIPPER / PAN AM. Circa 1960.  41 1/2x28 inches, 105 1/2x71 cm.vintage poser
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.

EDWARD MCKNIGHT KAUFFER (1890-1954) NEAR WALTHAM CROSS / BY TRAM. 1924.  30 1/4x20 inches, 77x51 cm. Baynard Press, London.  vintage poster
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?

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