As if the excitement of the Christies London Transport Museum sale wasn’t enough, there are now a whole slew of auctions pressing for our attention. So many that I might not get them all into one post. Shall we break ourselves in gently with an easy one?
PosterConnection in the US tell me that they are holding a sale in the Holiday Inn Express (near Fishermans Wharf) in San Francisco. But there are only a very few British posters to detain us. My personal favourites are this pair of airline posters.
One thing that I left out of my earlier musings about blue skies and airline posters was how early most of them are – they tend to date from the late 1940s and early 1950s in the main. I wonder whether this is because the airlines – who brought in essential foreign revenue to put against the war debt – were allowed to advertise in a way that other, domestic businesses were not. This might also explain why so many of these posters survive; they must have seemed to be dazzling pieces of modern design at a time when pretty much every other poster advertised the government. Glamorous in short.
Henrion also gets another look in with this Punch poster.
Although this does rather prove that other posters were available then. Must research this more.
Finally, there is a Rowland Hilder, which ought to be exciting, except that it’s a National Savings Poster, and it turns out that the natural dreariness of National Savings posters drains the spirit from even an artist like Hilder.
Why were National Savings posters so mediocre? I do not know the answer to this.
There are a few other odds and ends of interest in there, including a few late McKnight Kauffer’s, but generally the rest is foreign, and therefore outside my remit.
The November Christies Sale is a similar miscellany, in fact they seem to have got enough lots to produce a second sale by merging posters and film posters. But I don’t mind, because this means that for once I haven’t missed these two film posters.
Sidney James indeed.
Other than that, the line-up consists of the usual suspects. There are airline and tourism posters from around the world, including a few rather fine examples by David Klein.
Along with the Abram Games design for Jersey.
Also available is the usual heap/selection/motley assortment of railway posters (choose appropriate noun to suit your own point of view) of landscapes, seaside scenes and Terence Cuneo trains. But also one or two quirkier ones. There are a small selection of 1930s Southern posters which are not so much modernist as Art Deco; my favourite is, I think, this Pat Keely.
There on the other hand it might be this Edmund Vaughan.
There is a Frank Newbould of Devon which is another contender for most psychedelic pre-war poster.
There is also this, which Mr Crownfolio dug out of an archive the other day, after I’d gone on about women looking at posters of holidays.
I’m not sure what I make of it really, except to think that the beach is rather too crowded to be entirely desirable. Any thoughts anyone?
As well as railway posters, there are a very few London Transport posters in the sale. I’ll have this, please, albeit not for that price.
Pleasingly, there are even a few Shell posters too. I feel as though I haven’t seen any for ages.
Finally, there are a few oddities. Inevitably, this is what I find interesting. Most notable are this Reginald Mount, dating from the post-war continuation of lots of government posters giving you advice on almost everything.
Then there’s this Abram Games, rare for being an example of a commercial poster in the wild. Oh and a classic piece of poster design too.
Finally, there is this McKnight Kauffer, which wins by being a double dose of modernism – his design advertising modernist architecture on display.
If there aren’t a load of architects fighting furiously over that one, something has gone wrong with the world.
Note I haven’t said anything about the estimates, mainly because after the last sale I have no idea at all. Please do leave a comment in the box below if you do have any thoughts though, it would be much appreciated.
That’s probably as much as any of us can stand in one post, so I will return tomorrow or the next day with some more. Bet you can’t wait.