Swann Auction Galleries is offering 413 lots of sought-after classics and never-before-seen vintage posters to collectors on Thursday, including the iconic British propaganda poster, Keep Calm and Carry On from 1939.
Leading the sale are two versions of the Keep Calm and Carry On propaganda poster: a large one at 29-1/2 inches by 19-3/4 inches, with an estimate of $12,000 to $18,000; and a smaller size of 20 inches by 15 inches, with an estimate of $10,000 to $15,000.
With Britain formally declaring war on Germany on September 3, 1939, the newly re-formed British Ministry of Information immediately began working on a giant poster publicity campaign to prepare the British populace for what the ministry feared would be an "appalling series of shocks, resulting in shattered nerves, a lack of confidence in ultimate success, and therefore a lack of will to work for victory." Keep Calm and Carry On by an unknown designer was part of that campaign.
The Vintage Posters auction also features other World War I and II propaganda posters including several famous works by James Montgomery Flagg (including, I Want You and Wake up America Day) as well as a number of seldom seen Howard Chandler Christy posters such as Aviation / Fly with the U.S. Marines. Swann will also offer two gouache maquette entries from the Museum of Modern Art’s war poster design contest in 1942, which have never come up at auction, as well as the contest winner, Koehler & Ancona’s This is the Enemy.
Other main poster genres include:
Beach & Summer Resort Posters
Bidders can discover an assemblage of beach and summer travel selections, ranging from the 1890s to the 1960s. Among the lots are posters at the turn of the century including, Cabourg Casino, Bouchard’s Deco-era La Plage De Monte Carlo and Juan-Les-Pins / Antibes, circa 1950.
Bicycles & Automobiles Posters
Art Nouveau Posters
French Art Nouveau masterpieces fill out the sale, featuring works by Alphonse Mucha, Leonetto Cappiello’s (La Caisse Simon / Huîtres Exquises. 1901) and the beautiful Première Exposition Internationale Des Arts Décoratifs Modernes by Leonardo Bistolfi.
Rounding out Swann's summer auction are food and drink advertisements, American literary and theatrical posters, art exhibition, film, counterculture and several other genres.
The auction will begin at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday. For more information, visit Swann Auction Galleries.