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POSTER OF THE MONTH - January 2017

original vintage French poster Cognac Monnet 1927
Leonetto Cappiello
78 1/8" X 50 1/4"
A-, L
There are many strategies for coping with January, the dead of winter. Our Poster of the Month for January comes to us from that avatar of graphic-art dash and delicacy, Leonetto Cappiello, who never lost track of a world where joys prevail.
Here the watchword, for selling the treasures of cognac, runs, "... sun in a glass..." What could be more germane for countering nature's portion of darkness and freezing? Well, in fact, we could soldier on with bringing about the plus side of a harsh dispensation. But here we have, in addition to a tantalizing spirit, the still-new modern discovery that the commerce of mood-alteration is far more significant as an unlocking of a bounty of inventions by way of the grace of nature the story of which has only just begun!
The spunky, far from precious sprite, wields a whack of good cheer going to her vision with the heft of a space ship. This far from mundane delivery is all about a future which is ours to realize in its riveting beauty. In addition to the brilliant color lithography, the very large format accentuates the core values here. What better way to toast a New Year!

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POSTER OF THE MONTH - February 2017

Vintage art deco poster Fourrures Canton c.1930
Charles Loupot
50" X 36"
The adage, "Clothes Make the Man" [or Woman] takes on a new lease with this magnificent lithograph by Charles Loupot (1892-1960), one of the major colorists of vintage lithographic poster history. Here the figure, looking like a carriage-trade snow-lady, has come to a halt in her ermine fabulousness, with snow all around. The overall compositional and chromatic design is flawless. Are we, however, to leave that presence as if it were sheer materiality; or do we proceed to that haunting face?
Over and above the cold, she is, it seems, in the midst of an awakening to the rigors of which way to proceed. I don't mean where to travel that day; but how to travel at all! We could cut this off with regarding her as merely spoiled. (Like Proust putting his foot down about Albertine's expecting a Roll Royce and a yacht.) But I'd like to think that what makes this eye-opener so special is its driving the promotion into the really stormy weather of modern intent and its excruciating promise of wild poise.

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Voriginal vintage Donald Brun poster Persil 1947
Donald Brun
50" X 36"
The Swiss graphic art master, Donald Brun, amazes us on two levels in this self-assured vintage poster promotion for the laundry soap, Persil. First there is the color choice and the hues of coloration. It is rare for a work on paper to command such a preoccupation with sheer magic of colors and their placement. The rust background and the scarlet apron are far from a common juxtaposition; but who could not be mesmerised by the way they work here? The matching dark cherry of the hair of the subject and her doll comprises a second field of contemplation. And then there is the playful red horizontals of the socks! All this chromatic drama culminates in the whiteness of the whites, the piece de resistance of the manufacturer's craft.
The second absorbing feature of this (and many other lithos from Brun) is the remarkably rich angle of a range of maturity in the central figure of the pleasing domestic scene. Little girls may love to play house. But do they wear accentuating eyelashes? This exuberant motif seems to hearken to a woman's childhood as picture-perfect (like the washing results). The suggestion would be that the product endows the surfaces with a vivacity for all ages.

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vintage entertainment poster Nomads of the North c1920
41" X 28"
A-, L
Effective movie posters fire out to us the heart of their narrative. In some cases there is not much to show beyond a famous star looking fabulous, which is all many viewers want anyway.
But a significant vintage movie poster like today's Poster of the Month has designs upon a narrative revelation where you can actually come away from the production with something you hadn't considered. The silent vehicle, Nomads of the North, has been crafted with a view to a mass audience not familiar with screenplays and their kinetic priorities, but actually accustomed to dreaming up their own optics from out of literary entertainments. As such, it expertly adopts early twentieth century book-illustration style to rise to melodrama which satisfies the explorer of a new frontier of imaginative experience still largely cleaving to the decorum of the past.
The unknown artist climbing that objective has produced a "shocker" of a moment of disarray and amazing solicitude. What has led to this desperate and elegant moment? We're drawn to find out. But, moreover, we're drawn to how the protagonist succeeds in the bewildering mood of World War distemper!
Background Details:
Synopsis of the movie(and the article does not even have the image of this poster--it is so rare)
Author's Biography
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original vintage Canadian travel poster Canada Vacations Unlimited c.1955
G. W. Goss
24” x 18”
What a splendid and inventive graphic design we have here, by a portrait painter! The family in the foreground does gain from idioms of the time in apparel and hair styling. And the grouping benefits from portraiture strategies of old, still solidly entrenched. But I think the remarkable feature here has to do with the overall presence, coinciding with the theme, "Vacations Unlimited."
The family has already arrived at a lake and verdant shoreline, which could easily be enough for a summer vacation. But they see beyond the pristine amenities, toward a full range of recreational facilities of the resort, attractions like golf and horseback riding.
Moreover, that cloud of opportunities suggests that all of Canada is a fascinating treat. (The cloud sort of approximates the geography of Canada.) By the mid-1950's car travel was very widespread and those vignettes, with the prominently placed sedan, suggests that Canada's rustic enjoyments cannot be exhausted in a lifetime.
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original vintage Egypt travel poster Alexandria Pearl of the
Mediterranean c. 1955
39 ¼” x 27 ½”
A-, L
When was the last time you regarded those Middle Eastern places on the Mediterranean as sources of the new and joyous? We've recently come across a startlingly beautiful vintage poster depicting a place when it was a pace-setter of a special level of gusto and joie de vivre, in 1959, to be exact.
The port and beach of Alexandria has been embraced here in its antiquity in such a way that it functions not simply as an ancient Greek presence, but also an instance of that primality comprising Surrealism. The Greek column is a reminder of other ways having obtruded upon the territory's tendency to over-calculate. (Alexander the Great had left his brand on the centre, when bent on invasion, in 331 BC.) The designer here has keyed his composition along lines of the sensual resources of the indigenous population. Accompanying the remarkable muscularity, there are the perfectly tuned blue and gold of the surround and the tan of the constructs slowly disappearing. The rivulets and candy-coated accessories lend a playful additional spark.
Here the epithet, "Pearl of the Mediterranean," is cherished for a history having maintained for eons its forward-looking sense of beauty and sense of creativity! If there is such a thing as a brave vintage poster, this will fit the bill!

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vintage modernist poster Massey-Ferguson c.1960
J.C. Rousseau
44” x 62”
B+/A-, L
There are many roadways depicted (in vintage posters, and movies) seen by way of prominent highway mediums setting off picturesque and thrilling adventures. There are, on the other hand, very few presentations of farm vehicles drawing upon that geometric aspect.
In our Poster of the Month, considerable wit and innovation have been expended to convey that the Massey-Ferguson tractor is, in addition to a big-scale workload, a thing of beauty. The stylization of the farmer's field with its rows of furrows, lifts us back to a humorous, far from action-hero driver headed for the stratosphere on a sort of Lost Highway-cum-Flash Gordon blast-off! Not only the patterning but also the coloration contributes to the heft of a seemingly tossed-off confection.
The engine room of this rover brings to bear another pleasant surprise. The multi-triangle form of the driving force comes up with a facsimile of the product's steel as stamped with a down-to-earth logo/ symbol of the corporation.
(This being a Canada Day posting, let's recall that the company in question was for years an iconic feature of Canadian society and the Canadian economy.)
As a coda, we salute the chromatic panache of chording sunset reds to salute the long hours the client puts in. (That he's smiling and vivacious after a long day represents a tribute to the "ultramodern" convenience.)

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original vintage Italian Poster Mosquito Scooter 1953
Cam. Pizzigori
55" x 38"

Why does this vintage modernist poster with a modern subject exert a mood of nostalgia? First of all, its figuration, though showing delight and pride in long-range mobility, has been left without more than the slightest tangible sense of what the vehicle involves. Whereas Deco and even Belle Epoque/Nouveau transportation ads tend to emphasize the power and chic of cutting-edge machinery and its purchasers, here we have a reverie of motion not particularly wedded to the product being sold. While it is true that we have a photo-montage installation bringing to us the nitty-gritty which shouldn't be passed by, it is an almost self-deprecating entity, more a means to an end than a stairway to the stars. And the instance of rattling off statistics about the little critter's performance seems, in the absence of any tangible sense of driving it, to evoke long-ago trades persons and their earnest confirmations.
Then there is the treatment of the central character upstaging the supposed focal point. Her eyes are closed in a day-dream, not of power-machinery but of being a golden-girl like so many before her. She has a globe in her hand, pointedly without showing the New World. As such, this would be about a product in face of which to derive modest (but intriguing) pleasures. The truncated lower regions of the image look more to Giotto than the "Italian Miracle" speed demons. Heavenly, and at the same time a post-War survivor!

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POSTER OF THE MONTH - September 2017

vintage Italian art deco poster Lloyd Triestino-Egypt 1930
Giuseppe Riccobaldi
39 1/8" x 27 1/2"
B+, L

There are many dazzling graphic artists gilding the Golden Era of Vintage Posters. A lot of them caught on to the so-called art deco field for its quintessential modernity in its dash and mysterious risk. One of the best of the best was Giuseppe Riccobaldi (1887-1976), an architect, theatre designer and posterist who had remarkably--perhaps through the medium of Italian Futurism--assimilated that in order to reach a sophisticated clientele the practitioner had to be an expert, not only in the streamline idiom, but in streamline shocking itself with an eerie dynamic.
Those factors are out in force with our Poster of the Month, promoting the Lloyd Triestino cruise line based in Riccobaldi's home town of Genoa. Here he's at work enticing us to dip into exotic Egypt. The distant past which that area evokes is emphasized by the impenetrable darkness of the sky and the reflective body of water that is the Mediterranean. Then there are the amazing artefacts/ monuments speaking to primal matters which still matter today.
The special design point here concerns the ancient and yet up-to-the-minute chic of the denizen from that long-ago moment. Her reflection casts the contours of the cruise ship making a visit to something very old and at the same time something very new.

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POSTER OF THE MONTH - October 2017

vintage Italian poster Campagna-Con la Ferrovia Fuori 1944
50 ½" x 35 ½"
A-, L

The glamor of railways of long ago tends to be maintained by vintage graphic art along lines of powerful and beautifully designed locomotives pulling the most pampered riders ever seen. This choice would stem from jurisdictions wanting to make a big splash about the strengths and well-being of its citizenry.
Our Poster of the Month today adopts a very unusual approach, making it a railroad litho of remarkable distinction. Here we have a seldom, if ever, used rusty little remote line with flashy crossing barriers redolent of happier days. Some of the residents of this rustic rust-belt are pictured enjoying the peace and quiet of a Swiss farming community on a glorious spring day with its pink blossoming trees. There are hints that they're on the way to or from church.
The year is 1944, and the setting is one of the rare havens untouched by the shattering War all around. The Italian text reads, "A Country Stroll by the Railway Tracks..." Swiss subtlety at its apex, the scene transmits that such transportation is still in business; but that that rather characteristically weird and sterile atmosphere prevails. The little dog scolding the company may be in place to imply that troubling compromises have been struck. All we see is their backs.
And yet, the fine composition and coloration exert a delicately primordial charm. I'd say this is one of the most mysterious and haunting railway posters you'll ever see!

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POSTER OF THE MONTH - November 2017

vintage Spanish  travel poster Sevilla 1920
S. Martinez
93" x 55"

There are still places, on our climate shake-down of a planet, where sunlight becomes a treasured local food. Spend a few days in Sevilla and then you'll become light-dependent! It seems to me that the long-forgotten designer/ artist, "S. Martinez," was thinking about this mystery as a special gift when he approached the obligatory poster-promotion for the fiesta of 1920. The scene covers one of the grand municipal park-gardens of the Old Town, with the magnificent Giralda (bell-tower) Cathedral (formerly a mosque when Muslims controlled Spain), being an obligatory feature of any such graphic revelation of the affairs of this close-to-Africa bailiwick. Bedecked with the copious blossoms and fruits stemming from that singular sunshine, she becomes a representative of the city. But, as positioned, she is not simply about a tip that fun in the sun is on the way, but rather the quality implicit in her presence.
The gown she's wearing would seem to be a bemusing weight for near-Sahara heat. But there seems to be about Spanish life an extraordinary commitment to royalty and religion, and here the formality, where informality might dictate, would carry depths of emotion felt to be the acme of life. Not surprisingly, then, the text is more like a palace or cathedral flourish than a typical poster designation. I hope the turmoil of recent days will not diminish Spain's sombre and remarkable stature.
Very rare and beautifully restored. An historic gem!

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POSTER OF THE MONTH - December 2017

vintage Canadian travel poster Niagara Falls c. 1940
An Eye to the Future
Ault and Wiborg
10" x 9"
Artist Board 16" x 13"
A, Maquette;
Original painting

In the spirit of Christmas gift items, our Poster of the Month for December casts some special light on our collection of Ault and Wiborg vintage graphics.
Levi Ault, who was born in rural Quebec, linked up in Cincinnati with patrician/ investor, Frank Wiborg, to launch a firm of printing inks and dry color dyes and pigments at the dawning of the media industry, where coal tar dyes ensured brightly-colored inks. Their lithographic supplies were used and promoted by many of the leading lights (including Toulouse Lautrec) of early poster art, in America and Europe.
Fitting, then, I think, that we should spotlight the work of a Canadian subsidiary in Toronto. This maquette, which is a preliminary painted illustration by the artist, shows off super-rich colors! Homage (in the days of World War II) to an eye to the future concerning hydroelectric power would naturally engage the mighty and inspiring Niagara Falls. The deliberately-rendered rather prosaic power plant is set against the bounty of a nature that won't be sidelined by war. Not only is this a one of a kind art work, it is also hand signed in pencil by the artist, Robjohn.
This can be framed with a matt to exclude the artist's rough board(HI-ART No. 79 stamped on reverse) or as is, and with or without the removable AULT & WIBORG label. An art collector, we think, would like to display it in its totality as the ORIGINAL work.
Please visit for the final printed version of the above, and more Ault & Wiborg vintage graphics: Small Format Gems Gallery and Politics and War Gallery

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