Poster Auctions International’s (PAI) third sale of the year, on November 14, finished at $2,638,320. Rare Posters Auction LXXXV was a world record auction with many lots surpassing their previously realized prices.
Jack Rennert, President of PAI, said, “If there was any doubt about the poster’s vitality, this auction surely proved its lasting—and increasing—cultural and artistic value. Despite the economic impacts of the last two years, our sales continue to increase at an amazing pace. Collectors bid passionately, allowing us to break a number of world records for important artists including Alphonse Mucha, Leonetto Cappiello, and Walter Schnackenberg. Of course, much of this sale’s success can be attributed to the strength and rarity of the consignments we received.”
As with previous auctions this year, Alphonse Mucha continued to be the star of the show. Works by the Belle Époque master of beauty soared to new heights this auction, and his record-shattering sales include: the 1911 Moravian Teachers’ Choir (Pevecké Sdruzení Ucitelu Moravskych), which was won for $43,200 against an estimate of $7,000-$9,000; the 1898 Reverie, printed on silk, sold for $48,000 (est. $20,000-$25,000); his 1901 decorative panels, Ivy & Laurel, earned a winning bid of $43,200 (est. $17,000-$20,000); the 1897 Nestle’s Food for Infants sold for $43,200 (est. $10,000-$12,000); the 1895 Amants was claimed for $48,000 (est. $20,000-$25,000); his 1896 La Dame aux Camelias earned a win of $50,400 (est. $17,000-$20,000); the rare, hand-signed proof of his 1896 Salon des Cent / XXme Exposition garnered $43,200 (est. $30,000-$40,000).
All prices quoted include the buyer’s premium.
The great Montmartre mythologizer, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, saw continued interest in his work. The top sale from this auction was his 1899 Jane Avril, which was won for $108,000. The 1899 Confetti sold for $43,200; his 1893 Aristide Bruant Dans Son Cabaret went for $50,400; the 1894 La Loge au Mascaron Doré sold for $45,600.
Further Art Nouveau works also spurred tremendous interest. A never-before-seen design by Pal, The Lions / Nouveau Cirque, from ca. 1894, inspired a sale of $7,800 (est. $2,500-$3,000). F. Hugo d’Alesi’s 1894 maquette for Centenaire de la Lithographie / Galerie Rapp was won for $43,200 (est. $30,000-$40,000). Adolfo Hohenstein’s exquisite 1898 A. Calderoni was secured for a bid of $7,800 (est. $3,000-$4,000). Privat Livemont’s iconic 1896 Absinthe Robette continues to reach new sales heights; this time, it was won for $22,800 (est. $10,000-$12,000). Louis J. Rhead’s ca. 1896 Bechstein was highly desired, leading to a winning bid of $12,000 (est. $4,000-$5,000). Manuel Orazi’s elegant Maison Moderne, from 1900, sold for $72,000. Two iconic works from Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen inspired passionate bids: his 1905 Clinique Chéron was won for $31,200 (est. $17,000-$20,000), and his 1894 Lait pur Stérilisé sold for $22,800 (est. $14,000-$17,000). And this auction’s catalogue cover, Walter Schnackenberg’s 1912 Odeon Casino—the best printing seen yet—sold for the highest amount to date: $50,400 (est. $25,000-$30,000).
Celestial bicycle posters captivated collectors at auction. The anonymous ca. 1895 Cycles Gladiator soared off into the cosmos for $45,600 (est. $30,000-$40,000). H. Gray’s 1899 Cycles Sirius was claimed for $9,600 (est. $4,000-$5,000), and Pal’s 1895 Fernand Clément & Cie. touched the stars with a winning bid of $12,000 (est. $5,000-$6,000)—both record sales.
Further designs for transit scored exceptionally high bids. Roger Perot’s 1933 Grand Prix de Nice sold for $8,400 (est. $5,000-$6,000); Plinio Codognato’s forceful 1923 Gran Premio d’Europa / Fiat earned a winning bid of $90,000 (est. $70,000-$90,000). Collectors also vied for Leslie Ragan’s 1941 New York Central / Empire State Express, which surpassed its estimate of $4,000-$5,000 for a final sale of $11,400.
For Leonetto Cappiello, known as the father of modern advertising, sales were also fruitful. A 1911 maquette, Carnaval / Vinho do Porto, sold for $33,600. His 1926 Automoto / Byrrh made its auction debut, and collectors clamored for the rare design; it was won for $10,200 (est. $7,000-$9,000). His striking 1931 Kub sold for $60,000, and the 1933 Le Petit Dauphinois inspired a winning bid of $38,400.
As for Art Deco works, several notable designs were auctioned. Burkhard Mangold’s 1914 Winter in Davos—which has not been at auction in 14 years—exceeded its estimate of $12,000-$15,000 for a win of $20,400. Gert Sellheim’s 1936 Australia / Surf Club sold for $9,600 (est. $7,000-$9,000). Martin Peikert’s 1945 ski poster, Wengen-Männlichen, quickly surpassed its estimate of $1,400-$1,700 for a win of $7,200. Otto Baumberger’s handsome 1923 PKZ sold for $5,280 (est. $2,500-$3,000). A. M. Cassandre’s 1928 Londen was won for $15,600 (est. $8,000-$10,000), and his 1931 L’Atlantique went for $24,000. A 1932 maquette by Paul Colin, Ces Messieurs Dames, secured a winning bid of $14,400 (est. $10,000-$12,000). Works by Luciano Achille Mauzan also performed well: his 1930 Bertozzi sold for $6,000 (est. $3,000-$4,000); his 1921 Gallia / Oeufs Séchés went for $3,360; his 1929 Crosley was won for $7,800.
Poster Auctions International’s next Rare Posters Auction will be held in New York on Sunday, March 6, 2022. Consignments are accepted until December 10. To learn more about PAI, visit www.posterauctions.com.