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POSTER OF THE MONTH - January 2020

vintage French travel poster La Cote Basque 1957
Bernard Villemot
38 3/4" x 24"
A,L
Though not specifically about Spring, this is a graphic that seems almost to personify the season. In showing off the range of sports and recreational activities to be enjoyed along France's Southern Atlantic shore, it gathers up the tests of skill in a configuration paying homage to more simple gratifications.
The eighteenth hole has been fashioned as a cylindrical (and horse friendly!) mint green valley, the graceful trees of its edges accentuating a drop toward the beach and sea. Little inlets heading toward Spain invite us to meander at will, something easier to do on a fresh Spring day than when the Southern sun is really cooking.


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - February 2020

Original vintage motorcycle poster Gilera 150 1949
Gino Boccasile
20" x 14 1/2"
A-, L
There are many ways to understand this bemusing vintage poster. But, because I've been for many years a big fan of artist, Gino Bocassile, I focus my thoughts to the maestro's wit and sense of drama.
On the face of it, this circus-like apparition seems out of this world. There is, though, a scene in the recent film, A Hidden Life, where the protagonist is blindfolded in the course of a game of blind man's bluff, the point being one of missing true vision. However, could there be, at the heart of this vignette, much good sense?
The caption reads, "with eyes closed shut." Rather than a death-wish, the couple might be pledging that, come what may, their love will continue to flourish. Therewith, also, the peppy vehicle becomes branded as a means to a new renaissance, receiving an uncanny change.
The works of Boccasile brim with gusto and cheer--a pact with nature to give thanks!


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - March 2020

vintage French entertainment poster Gravures 1937
Marie Laurencin
19 3/8" x 12 3/4"
A, L
The artist of our Poster of the Month, namely, Marie Laurencin, began her art work as a painter of porcelain. Though she moved on to a versatile and daunting career, the low-key, pastel practise seen here, more or less defined her efforts. Skirting big-hitters, like Picasso and other Cubists, she would stick to her guns as an avatar of quietly fertile, chromatic mood.
The vintage poster we are so happy to have and share with you, involves a series etchings she was selling in 1937, in Paris. By way of a great tour de force, the lithographic promotion here, both presents and conceals the products. Three women, seen to be concerned with a sort of seance, happy to be exclusively part of a female circle, appear to be aesthetes only secondarily. But on the other hand, the text of the vintage poster declares, "most accessible," "most varied," opening our eyes to figures of painted sheets and v-form display-racks, inherent in the dresses and the curtains.
Surely one of the most subtle selling points in vintage poster history, Laurencin dares to pose an initiation for those approaching her breathtaking gems.


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - April 2020

vintage French  poster Appel des Nations Unies 1948
Michel Hove
46" X 31"
A, P
Plagues of various kinds have wreaked havoc through the years. In the medieval era, whole settlements became graveyards. In more recent times, however, those experiencing such upheavals have joined together to ensure that, when poison took over, it was met with resistance.
Our Poster of the Month for April (when this April finds itself between a rock and a hard place) brings to that flow of crisis an instinct to join with others in order to avoid total destruction. In the aftermath of World War II, many were left without sufficient food. Particularly, there was a large number of children having lost parents during the war, and facing starvation. The vignette here entails a waif, a swatch of wheat and a dove with a string covering the flags of the recently-developed United Nations, which helped to relieve the rate of starvation. The dove's function was to attend to, however, as far as possible, the horrors of war. And the artist, Michel Hove, has impressively mustered a tone of elegant and natural equilibrium, in a cold, dark world.


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - May 2020

original vintage Italian poster Edizioni Curci c.1930
T. Cuballi
20" x 14"
A,Cardboard
Those who delve into an art form tend to have much to do with other arts and crafts. At an infrastructural level, there is a mysterious momentum which somewhat transcends the specific discipline. Our Poster of the Month for May (where the world rediscovers a striking freshness) brings these delights in subtle and touching ways.
Two young women from Milano (that hub of design arts) confidently, arm in arm, surf the waves of classical music, their buttress being an avenue of streamline musical invention that will never become old and obsolete. The woman in red prefers the problematics of Beethoven; the woman in white prefers the sweetness of Chopin. But, with the musical notes flowing at will, the endless treasure would be wide-ranging.
The protagonists proceed to show us that their taste in fashion involves material skills which could include the famous Milano furnishings and architecture. So while the screen cap pronounces, "Everywhere there is music," as complemented by the premium upon "excellence," this modest charmer of a vintage poster brings, from a long way back, the commitment to overcome that destructiveness which is part and parcel of our planet.


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - June 2020

vintage brun sports poster Bata 1950
Donald Brun
50 ½"x 35 ½"
B+, P
Where did running shoes take off? From the perspective of our era, we might easily slip into the assumption that, without enviable footwear to look not only forceful but wise, you'd have to stay at home.
Our Poster of the Month for June focuses upon the Bata Corporation as operating in Switzerland, with its little logos of the three aspects of that country, namely, Italian (bocce), French (tennis) and German (long distance running). But the thrust of "sport styles" had been promoted long before that, in the Czech headquarters of Bata. Moreover, after the company's headquarters shifted to sports-crazy Canada, that priority became a mania.
The big shoes are a metaphorical treasure-trove of transcendent desire. They seem to hover above mere humans, as if a gift from another galaxy, a galaxy of utility, modest coloration and thrift. Soon, however, the genes of fabulousness would take over, to an upshot of both crassness and innovation.


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - July 2020

vintage Canadian politics and war poster Don't Buy It c.1942
McClaren
24 1/2" x 18 1/4"
A-,L
These covid-19 days, when we're rather crushed with health and safety demands, it may be useful to note that another era had its share of unwelcome duties. During World War II, one of the tasks for the homeland was being very critical about spending money. All but the bare necessities were to be allowed, while the lion's share had to go to the war effort. A "White Elephant," denoting a frivolous spur of the moment purchase, that likely would be trashed in a few days, would have seemed a major crime in that climate, not only poor judgement but also questionable patriotism. The image portrays the troublemakers as tiny, far less than adults.
Whereas the scorned upon in that case had little cogency because its crisis provided a rich, absorbing drama (only someone with very cheap priorities failing to thrill and care about the event), during the pandemic time, we are left with a current of action seriously frozen, an exigency to pretty much do nothing but keep away from other people and contemplate the spectacle of almost total collapse. While the scientific and political pundits are at their zenith, we others experience an invasion far from a normal war.


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - August 2020

original vintage travel poster Holland 1950s
Cornelius van Velsen
39 ½” x 24”
A-,L
When you're often referred to as the Low Countries, you'd better have something pretty impressive to compensate. Our Poster of the Month, Holland, thrives in many ways to become an invitation to delight!
Wouldn't you know it, there is a charming lack of scale in the two holstein cows gracing the verdant grassland, this species originating in Holland and being the highest producer of dairy animals. Then there are windmills, among the most fetching of farm structures. Once again, the Dutch quirkiness gives pause about that fence doing little as a barrier, with its lone tree, begging the question of what happened to the others.
After pulling our leg that way, we can settle down to the robin and its bird house, happily dominating the scene. The birch tree (as if on a high hill where hills don't exist) shelters a charmer somehow perfect for the foibles. The land of Holland has produced there the perfect welcome, a natural entertainer. Holding to the playful tone, there are on the exterior of the little house whimsical figures!


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - September 2020

vintage Italian travel poster Milano 1956
Marcello Nizzoli
39 ¼ “ x 24 ¼”
B+, L
The city of Milano is one of a kind. Its history is rife with invasions from many countries, but despite the interference there was always in play a vigorous sense of well-being and invention.
The Cathedral, beginning to emerge in the late 14th century, managed to become one of the greatest, evocative Gothic structures in the world. Perhaps not so coincidentally, the city has developed as one of the towering design powers, along with Paris.
Our lithographic Poster of the Month for September seems to place a premium upon those long ago roots, ignoring the present. While the impact is muscular (even primeval), there definitely has been far less coverage of the legacy of great architects and industrial designers of the Lombardy domain. However, while stressing the bedrock, there is a playful, offbeat dimension which peeks out to us as full-scale, Milano invention.


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - October 2020

Vintage Spanish travel poster Spanish Fiesta c. 1940s
Anonymous
44" x 33 1/2"
A-, P
In the 1940's, Spain was a bit of an enigma. It had just come through a bloody civil war. And it managed to stay out of World War II.
The institution of fiestas, however, had been a center of wild energy and joy for many centuries, and we can imagine such pomp and circumstance being at its acme there. This is, however, one of the only fiesta vintage lithographic posters I've ever seen without a crucifix. What's up?
What's up is a remarkably secular event, perhaps the anonymous artist's hope for a future of creature comforts, after too much excitement. In place of the usual wild ride, we have a group more being a health resort. Beyond cool, this gathering has its own idyll where beauties of design celebrate the serene.


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - November 2020

original vintage French airline poster Air France Europe 1951
E. Maurus
39” x 24 ¼”
A-, P
In 1951 (the date of our vintage lithographic poster here), Europe had just begun to recover to the point of full-scale pleasure travel by plane. Although we see a plethora of vignettes representing the destinations, let's start with that dazzling airplane, the Super Constellation, arguably the most graceful airline ever built, in the service of Air France. As its silvery and refined features plie the night sky, we recognize that the constellation of the air dovetails with the constellation of European countries.
As a spine of our graphic, we have a large gold brown-colored structure of a Greek ruin, also seen in the mustard tan-colored figure at right bottom. Proceeding counter clockwise, there is Russia, Switzerland, Scandinavia, Britain, Spain and Italy. And with the host country showing its Arc de Triomphe, in its magical design, along with the breathtaking plane.
Constellations of beauty and hope.


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POSTER OF THE MONTH - December 2020

original vintage French fashion poster La Fete du Soleil 1985
Young & Rubicam
70”x48”
A,P
As we plunge into the winter, let's catch up to better days, namely, spring. And also, namely, the iconic department store in Paris, PRINTEMPS, (meaning spring, or more exactly, "in the Spring''). Though this posting is a disclosure of a vintage poster, which carries more history than lithographic art, much can be enjoyed within such a contrast. Whereas most department stores have either closed or seem about to close, our place to go in Paris ("the most beautiful city in the world," according to the CEO), has unique staying power. Opening in 1865 (with the American Civil War still flaming), the ambitious shop on Boulevard Haussmann spared no expense and invention to become a necessity for those with much taste and much money. (This year's New Year's Eve gala at the palace of wonders [cross your fingers] is slated to be a party which only the French can reach, by way of its unique instinct for frisson.)
Therefore, that semi-vintage poster here has to be carefully parked within an establishment as august as the Eiffel Tower. It celebrates the Sunny (bargain) Season, all things tropical. Therefore, the green jungle, the pink lipstick, the bold earrings and the invitation to the world at large.


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