Published: November 2, 2010
A blaze of color filled the fourth floor exhibition hall at the Metropolitan Pavilion from October 22 to 24 as the International Vintage Poster Fair made its East Coast showing. Touted as the “world’s oldest and largest vintage poster show,” the event offered more than 10,000 original posters displayed in the booths of 20 international poster dealers.
A special exhibition was included in this year’s show, “Art of Persuasion: 100 Years of Propaganda Posters,” and it was well received by those in attendance.
The show opened on Friday evening to a good-sized crowd of serious collectors, and as they entered the room, it became awash with flashing vibrant colors as dealers flipped through their piles of posters. While generally acknowledged as the home of the finest posters, French items were abundant, although American and Swiss masterpieces were plentiful as well. Foreign dealers were on hand from Paris and other locales in France, Geneva, London and Brussels; and the cast of American dealers had come from Chicago, Florida, Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well as numerous hometown dealers from Manhattan.
Show managers Mireille Romand, David Pollack and Gail Chisholm were pleased with the look of the show, and management stated in the days following the event that it had been well received. Dealers reported a great deal of active interest in a wide range of materials, from Art Nouveau to midcentury. Iconic travel posters for American destinations that could be explored via the railroad were popular, with examples depicting scenes such as Yosemite, Bryce Canyon, San Francisco, Alaska and the exotic shores of Hawaii. European and American ski destinations were also popular subjects for posters, and a wide range was also available.
Management commented that the gate for the event was up from previous years; adding to the surge was the availability of free admission for anyone under the age of 25. Show manager David Pollack stated that the idea presented itself while brainstorming for ways to cultivate a new audience of collectors.
La Belle Époque Vintage Posters prepared for some of its serious collectors as the show was about to open. The Manhattan dealers waited until the last possible moment to put out a series of rare beach posters, including a monumental example titled “Blackpool.”
Sherman, Conn., dealer David Pollack offered a wide selection of posters, many of which he termed “rare.” The dealer was quick to point out one poster, however, that he stated was the first example he had owned in more than 40 years, a satirical left-wing political poster by Ben Shahn. From 1948 and titled “A Good Man Is Hard To Find,” it depicted Harry Truman playing piano with Presidential candidate Thomas Dewey lounging on the top, modeled after a period press photo of Truman and Lauren Bacall.
Chinese propaganda posters depicting citizens in euphoric poses and situations were offered from Chinese Prop Art. Many in the crowd found the rare selection of interest, or at least amusing.
Manhattan dealer Gary Bruder offered a wide range of works by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, including his iconic monumental poster of the man with the red scarf. Other French travel posters were also displayed.
The Vintage Poster Fair traveled to the West Coast and was presented in San Francisco over the weekend of October 29″1. Plans are already underway for the 2011 show, which traditionally debuts the second to last week in October in Manhattan and then moves West. For information, www.posterfair.com or 800-856-8069.
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