Auction of the Week: Rennert's Gallery Rare Posters Sale, October 28, 2018
This week's featured auction is the Rare Posters Sale at Rennert's Gallery in New York on October 28. From WWII propaganda and sideshow oddities, to Art Deco masterpieces and the Cuban Revolution – here are ten of our favourite posters on offer.
This is the Enemy by Karl Koehler, Victor Ancona & Stephen Ancona (1942)
As the United States entered WWII in 1942, the Museum of Modern Art hosted a competition to create a suitably stirring propaganda poster, co-sponsored by Artists for Victor and the Council for Democracy.
Nine winners were chosen from more than 2,000 entries, including this now-famous illustration of an evil German S.S Officer by artists Karl Koehler (1913-2000), Victor Ancona (1912-1998) and Stephen Ancona (1932- ).
Each of the winners received a $300 War Bond, and their posters were printed and distributed across the U.S by the Office of Civilian Defence.
The Fak Hongs/Numero d'Illusion by Anonymous (circa 1901)
The Fak Hongs were a troupe of Western illusionists who toured throughout Europe during the early 20th century alongside The Great Chang, otherwise known as the Panamanian magician Juan Jesorum.
When China opened up to the West at the turn of the century, the public's newfound fascination with the East led to a number of themed magic shows such as this, focused around Oriental mysticism and the occult.
Uruguay/XIV Campeonato Football by J. Bonelli (1942)
Estimate: $1,400 - $1,700
This poster by illustrator J. Bonelli was produced for the 1942 South American football championship in Montevideo, Uruguay.
The hosts also won the tournament, claiming the title for the eighth time, during a glorious era for Uruguayan football which also saw them claim two World Cup championships in 1930 and 1950.
Barnum & Bailey / Two Living Human Prodigies by Anonymous (1897)
Estimate: $2,000 - $2,500
This late 19th century poster for the Barnum & Bailey Circus depicts two of its star attractions at the time: Miss Ella Ewing and Great Peter the Small.
Ewing (1872 – 1913) was born in La Grange, Missouri, and suffered from pituitary gigantism which caused to her to grow to a height of over eight feet tall.
Her profession career as a sideshow attraction began in 1892, and she went on to earn thousands of dollars starring in shows across the U.S. She passed away at the age of 40 having contracted tuberculosis, and today she is commemorated in her home state with the Ella Ewing Reservoir named in her memory.
Almost nothing is known about Great Peter the Small, other than that he supposedly stood 28" high and weighed 6 1/2 lbs.
Farman by Anonymous (circa 1920)
The Farman F.60 Goliath was a French heavy duty bomber developed in 1918 for use during WWI. When the war ended before it could be out into action, it was quickly redeveloped as a commercial airliner capable of carrying up to 14 passengers.
As commercial routes sprung up across Europe following the end of the war, more pilots were needed to increase the services, and this rare poster was produced in 1920 to advertise a flight school which would train pilots for 50 francs.
Tony Shafrazi Gallery by Keith Haring (1983)
This exhibition poster was created by Keith Haring (1958-1990), the celebrated New York artist who rose to fame in the early 1980s through his street art in the East Village.
He soon made the leap from subways to art galleries, including this exhibition 'Into 84' hosted at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery, and today his work is amongst the most instantly recognizable art of the 20th century.
Shafrazi's own remarkable career saw him serve as art advisor for the Shah of Iran, and he was once arrested for spray-painting over Picasso's Guernica, in protest against the My Lai massacre in Vietnam, before opening his New York gallery in 1979.
Phébus by H. Gray (circa 1898)
Phebus was a French automobile marque produced by the Noe Boyer & Cie company in Paris, circa 1898 until 1903.
The company built a limited number of bicycles, tricycles, motorcycles and four-wheeled vehicles during this period, and any surviving examples are considered highly rare today.
This stunning Art Novuea poster, featuring a Fin-de-Siécle angel descending from heaven to grab a Phébus bicycle wheel, is the work of renowned French artist H. Gray, otherwise known as Henri Boulanger.
Pennsylvania Railroad / Atlantic City by Edward M. Eggleston (circa 1935)
Atlantic City thrived as a tourist spot during the 1920s, due in part to its virtual refusal to enforce Prohibition laws.
During its peak it was served by two different railroad companies - the West Jersey and Seashore Railroad and the Atlantic City Railroad – whose trains would race each other to their destination along almost parallel lines.
In 1931 the two companies finally merged into one, with the Pennsylvania Railroad taking ownership, and the city continued to flourish as a seaside resort throughout the 1930s.
This classic Art Deco-style travel poster was created by Edward M. Eggleston, a successful commercial artist who also produced pin-up calendars for the Thomas Murphy Co. and Brown and Bigelow.
Cocaine by René Gaillard (1926)
This striking poster by French artist René Gaillard was produced in 1926 to promote a five-act play on the dangers of cocaine.
Although cocaine was widely available during the late Victorian era, and remained legal in France throughout the 1920s, it was considered by many to be a dangerous vice.
The imagery of this poster also suggests the play viewed jazz musicians as equally dangerous.
De La Sierra Hasta Hoy by Eladio Rivadulla (1959)
This highly rare poster was printed in Cuba in 1959 to herald the Cuban Revolution and the victory of Fidel Castro's forces.
It features five prominent figures in the revolution: Camilio Cienfuegos, Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, Raúl Castro Ruz and Juan Alameida Bosque, and promotes the story of the revolution like that of a Hollywood movie.
The poster originates from the personal collection of its artist, Prof. Eladio Rivadulla Jr., a Cuban illustrator who joined the revolution and spent 30 years as Castro's graphic-artist-in-residence.
Just 300 copies of the poster were ever printed, and it's believed Rivadulla's own copy may be the only example still in existence.
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