There is a glut of movie posters, although you can’t have too many vintage movie posters as created by the astonishing Stenberg brothers, who rocked in the early years of Soviet Russia. (And, of course, there is a pantheon of great vintage lithographic movie posters from all over the world.)

Although we have never paid much attention to acquiring vintage movie posters (the Stenberg’s being prohibitively expensive), we have had, from our early days, a strong commitment to live theatre promotions. A large percentage of vintage general-trade-enticement has deployed theatrical motifs to create a buzz for the product or service. But here we want to discover if the moments in face of the footlights provide a unique intensity and elegance.

Our first example, “That’s the Ticket,” provides a vivacious array of props, by means of which to preview the range of drama being lavished upon us by the company. In providing clues to the night on the town, the wit and mystery, to be offered, somehow goes beyond what a single image can do.    Continue reading

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In addition to the seduction of its forces on behalf of selling a product or service, vintage graphic art frequently shines a light on the future. How so? The optical resources of excitement in first-rate promotional work, in fact, move beyond easy, explicable pleasure, in order to induce an aura of mystery giving us pause. We may not explicitly recognize that addition, but it does allow of comprehension.

For instance, that little (you might say inconsequential) pochoir Christmas card, being our first instance, slightly distorts the figures, in order to facilitate recognition of a dynamic transcending, satisfactorily pleasurable. The tree-branch legs of the trio of sleigh-steeds become family to those birch tree branches. That the passengers chord with the aforementioned sticks develops a harmony while snowbound. The red sleigh, therefore, becomes an agency compelled to going for broke.

Such a delivery  has been famously described as “art deco.” But long before the term took hold, the phenomenon had been an enticing feature.

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We’re bombarded by the exigency to move vigorously. Shine in motion, or stay in your room. The fascination of sports largely calls upon feats of sizzling motion. Look closely of a big city’s denizens coming to or going from work, and you will be treated to a cat walk of the powerfully coordinated, including wielding their phones. Why does this speak to us? Let’s let the vintage graphics in our collection cast some light on the subject.

If you’ve been keeping track of where theatre is going in the 21st century, you’ll have noticed that much of the excitement pertains more to circus and dance than dialogue and literature. Our first plate indicates that, in the 1930’s, dynamic spectacle was already the rage—a means of defining vintage poster art as a sign of a change from the previous centuries’ demand for rational pinpointing.

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Cover;12″ x 8 3/4″; 15pp. Original Printer’s Copy

Far from good (and too dull to be naughty), our Christmas vintage graphic design blog is not without collateral interest. The writer, John F. Hayes, claims to be putting into print what began as his original improv bedtime stories for his children. But he has obviously rejigged the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer material (without attribution, as if Gene Autry stole his genius), with catastrophic results. The author shows a misfit effecting the supposed urgency to cover the globe with pretty snow for a supposed world-wide keening about freezing, and from this non-starter he disappears, as if caught up in a tar-baby, babbling with verbose and dry lostness. (“A few minutes later, Jumpet was brought from his room. Snowscatter reached out and patted his little head. ‘You are not here to be scolded again, Jumpet. But you are the only elf who can [joy-] ride a reindeer, and we want you to lead the Snowmakers tonight!’ “)

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Proceeding with the link of graphic art and literature, after the disappearance of the Belle Epoque and its internationally galvanized Romanticism, we find an intriguing change on the move. Gone are the rather precious, elaborate garments and the sense of revolutionary insurrection; in its place are more circumspect, easy-going dispositions negotiating a diversity of enthusiasms.

Our first vintage poster enticing the purchase of a publication (namely, “The Ladies Home Journal,”) pertains to the secular goods displayed in the Christmas number, and the smartest ways to celebrate. Right at the moment when America was about to enter World War II, the priority of creature comforts still loomed large. Especially with this design, we can discern the embrace of movies, perhaps Disney productions.

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Books still get read (never mind the statistics), but, graphic art no longer seriously joins the push. In the 19th century heyday of ravenous literacy, the subjects of celebrity, history/politics, and science/ technology seldom became a fervid interest. Nor was the enshrinement of “unforgettable characters” the name of the game. Fictional stories, on the other hand, being recognizably touched by what was known as “Romantic tone,” became staples for many thousands of neo-bourgeois thinkers.

It is the repository of discreet Romantic rebelliousness which formed the first wave of illustrative input in the circulation of widespread Western literature. Another aspect of this early modern phenomenon was that of premiering the novels (or poetry) by way of serialization in multi-purpose magazines. The covers of these magazines often comprised visual evocations of the literary payload.

We’ll begin this tracing of that compound with an extraordinarily provocative assault upon Age of Enlightenment prosaicness. Milady and her entourage proclaim themselves, without a word spoken, to be–appearances notwithstanding–hard at work with fathoming the instinctive priorities not likely to be clearing up the Industrial Revolution any time soon. But, as we’ll see in the rest of the entries, mystery itself becomes a triumph of sorts.

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The world of vintage posters tends to lean heavily on joy and stirring adventures. Resorting to the topic of restoring health would be a relatively minor matter; but nevertheless the confrontation of difficulty and malaise is a subject putting into play very absorbing graphic design strategies.
Perhaps the most effective approach to this issue would be the fascination for science and technology, now moving at nearly the speed of light. The zeal for regarding a human as a machine to be brought to optimum efficiency allows striking transformations upon social interaction and the initiatives of human sensibility.
Our first poster, as to clear sailing for the circulation of blood, not only reduces the body to a transmission system but turns around the puppet-like figure to go forth as a cosmic player in good standing!  Continue reading

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You look for it, but it seldom comes–namely, output of a reflective warrior! In addition to Iris Van Herpen’s decade on the wild side, there is the second shock that the young Dutch visionary is a doyen of haute couture, not a field generally consulted for avant-garde investigation getting into the face of quantum physics dogmatists.

Iris Van Herpen, who, in a video at her current show in the Royal Ontario Museum alludes to having a background in “dance,” offers to us an advanced display of a dimension of dynamics never noticed in mainstream reasoning (but alive and well in cutting-edge thought and art). The fashion designs on tap here, feature compositions overrunning the apparel to the point of offshoots complementing the body per se, and thereby questioning the “identity” itself. This evocation pertains to the wearer’s alertness so far as engendering a field of energy interacting with oneself. Consequently, the compositions vividly evoke that expansion of the human into the cosmos.

This rigorous, mysterious and consequential artistry is supplemented by designers, engineers and architects with a genius for producing mechanisms responsive to one’s motions, and thereby eliciting responses from us. Particularly important to Van Herpen’s productions has been Toronto architect, Philip Beesley, a renowned builder of body-motion constructs as to a crucial space we all belong to, but seldom recognize.

(A sub-text of this work consists of Beesley et al regarding such innovations as rife with utopian, “artificial-intelligence” dividends, while the lady who knows better tends to darkness as well as light.)

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Though in our searches in Europe for lilting graphic art, we have often thrilled to the remarkable resources of vintage children’s illustrated books, we find that our collection is almost empty of North American products. There is, however, a 78 rpm recording with a sleeve graced by a modernist design, which we acquired from a Canadian  source a long time ago, which opens a window on a very distinct sensibility by contrast to the French library still numerous in our inventory.

Our summertime whimsy (from 1954) involves the Walt Disney film, “Pinocchio,” in its soundtrack, to be precise. The cartooning of its graphic touch entirely eschews the subtleties making French illustration so memorable. But it carries post-War rural/ suburbia dash, augmented by the Bing Crosby fedora of that jaunty boss-sphere delivery. The only visual, has nothing to do with the Pinocchio classic.

But here’s the Disney  Give a Little Whistle recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8vF8ooxOhNU


And a fantastic Side Two: Pony Boy Buffalo Gals : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IKrJ3B0qXLM


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Meet Our Dealers: I Desire Vintage Posters IVPDA Interview Series
Name: Jim and Valerie Clark Website: www.idesirevintageposters.com
Telephone: 416-977-7932 Email: [email protected]
Address: 438 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario, Canada – by Appointment

Why and when did you become a dealer?

We had a rather bizarre odyssey through arts and crafts
and philosophy before we became aware of vintage lithographic posters. Our initial exposure to posters in an antique shop in Soho during the Statue of Liberty re-dedication in 1986 made us realize that the styles we had grown to love were alive and well in vintage poster art. We quickly fell in love with the implications of the free-wheeling mavericks of Montmartre. Here was something we not only could embrace but also afford, and see ourselves seriously working with. Continue reading

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