Windfall In Springtime For Poster Connoisseurs And Galleries

This post is reprinted from an article I wrote in May 2013

It is springtime in New York. That means it is a great season for poster connoisseurs. The Swann Galleries will be opening their doors for their Modernist Posters auction which will start Monday, May 13, 2013 at 1:30 PM. Swann’s started the poster auctions in 1978. They are one of the worlds leading specialist auction houses. Specialties include several posters sales a year, antiques and other works on paper – such as photographs, autographs, literature and maps.

The Poster Exhibitions are a constant all year long. They include: The Modernists Posters (May 13th), Vintage Posters Collections, Monsters & Maidens: A Film Poster Collection, Rare & Important Travel Posters, The Complete Poster Works of Roger Broders and much more.

What Sells At Swann Gallery?

There will be Modernist Series Posters for sale here on May 13th, but there are events and auctions going on year round at Swann Galleries. This may be too rich for some poster connoisseurs (myself included). But, marvel at the caliber of works that recently sold:

Prints and Drawings

James A. M. Whistler’s – “Nocturne” – etching 1879-1880 $282,000

Pablo Picasso – “Homme a la fraise” – linoleum cut – 1962 $144,000

Rembrandt’s – “Self Portrait on a Stone Sill” – 1639 $72,000


Jules Chéret – “‘Théâtre de l’Opéra, Paris” – 1898 $7,200

Privat Rivemont – “Rajah” – 1900 $9,000

Montague Birrel Black’s “White Star Line” / Olympic and Titanic, circa 1910, sold for $36,000

So, as you can see the posters section is a real steal! Also, you start to realize that poster collecting is a very serious business. They can be as valuable as precious antiques.

Jules Chéret

You may have noticed this gentleman’s poster listed above. If you have read some of my other posts (in Arts & Entertainment) you may recognize the name. It was the 1860’s Paris, France. Jules Chéret combined his talents as a lithographer and painter who produced vivid brilliant poster art that was in high demand.

You might could say he is the grandaddy of what has become the “modern poster”. That was really the first poster revolution. The second one would come during the 1960s with the birth of psychedelic rock and roll and all the venues that promoted them.

Poster Investing

A Jules Chéret poster for $7,200 from Swann Gallery is quite pricy for many poster connoisseurs. But, there are certainly great opportunities on poster investing you may not be aware of. The burgeoning psychedelic concert posters market. These posters are 40 to 50 years old now and you can still find mint posters at a low price if you watch out for them. Dealing in this market is more approachable, investing hundreds not thousands!