NEW YORK—On Nov. 15, Swann Galleries held its most successful vintage travel poster auction to date. This year’s auction of rare and important travel posters attracted heavy advance bidding, a full salesroom and active phone bidding, bringing outstanding results.
“Collectors, dealers, decorators and poster aficionados of all stripes competed vigorously for a wide range of exceptionally rare images, making this Swann’s highest grossing Travel Posters auction ever,” said Nicholas Lowry, Swann Auction Galleries President and poster specialist.
The sale’s top lot was Montague Birrel Black’s celebrated poster for the White Star Line, depicting the Olympic and Titanic ships at sea, which sold for $36,000 — matching the previous record for the artist achieved at Swann’s 2009 auction of Travel Posters.
Many notable ocean liner images promoted the Cunard Line, including Odin Rosenvinge’s Cunard Line / Liverpool – New York – Boston, showing the Lusitania, circa 1907, $10,800; Samuel John Milton Brown’s very rare Cunard Line / Europe-America, circa 1907, $7,200; and two posters by unknown artists, one depicting the Lusitania, circa 1910, the other the three red funnels of the Berengaria, circa 1925, $7,800 each.
Grand ships were also celebrated in A.M. Cassandre’s iconic posters for S.S.“Côte d’Azur,” Lille, 1931, $19,200, and Normandie, Paris, 1935, $13,200.
Powerful posters for travel by rail included Geo Dorival’s trio, Vers le Mont-Blanc, evoking the effects of the day and night sky on the peaks, reached via the gleaming zipper-like tracks, Paris, 1928, $18,000 and Leslie Ragan’s iconic image glorifying the famous New 20th Century Limited, Long Island City, NY, 1938, $19,200.
There were also several posters for the Southern Pacific Railway, among them Maurice Logan’s By Rail Across Great Salt Lake, with seagulls seen against a golden sky above two Overland Limited trains, 1928, which set an auction record for the artist at $10,200; as well as Jon O. Brubaker’s New York Central Lines/California, Long Island City, NY, 1926, $10,200; and Edward M. Eggleston’s alluring Atlantic City / Pennsylvania Railroad, Clifton, NJ, circa 1935, $12,000.
A fine selection of British rail posters featured a dynamic cubist image promoting tennis at Wimbledon via the Underground by Sybil Andrews using the pseudonym Andrew Power, London, 1933, which brought a record $24,000; Reginald Edward Higgins’ Scarborough, London, circa 1925, $10,800; and Herry-Perry’s Rugby League Cup Final, 1933, $3,600.
Tempting travel destinations included Roger Broders’s masterful Sainte-Maxime, Paris, 1928, $6,720; Ze’ev Raban’s very scarce poster promoting Tourism in Palestine / Come and See Erez Israel, Jerusalem, 1929, $9,600; and James Northfield’s dramatic fishing scene captured in Australia / Great Barrier Coral Reef, Melbourne, circa 1935, $8,400.
Among eye-catching aviation advertisements were Albert Solon’s Farman / Air Lines, Courbevoie, 1926, $4,320; Cassandre’s Fleche D’Argent / Aéropostale, Paris, 1929, $7,800; and Jupp Wiertz’s image of the Hindenburg in A Pleasant Trip to Germany, Berlin, circa 1935, $5,520.
For complete results, an illustrated auction catalogue, with prices realized, is available for $35 from Swann Galleries, Inc. , 104 East 25th Street, New York, NY 10010.
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