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Auction Description for Swann: Art Nouveau Posters

Art Nouveau Posters

by Swann Auction Galleries

Platinum House

140 lots with images

December 16, 2004

104 East 25th Street

New York, NY, 10010 USA

Phone: 212.254.4710

Fax: 212 979 1017

Email: swann@swanngalleries.com

ARTIST UNKNOWN CRAWFORD AMERICAN CYCLES.

Lot 1: ARTIST UNKNOWN CRAWFORD AMERICAN CYCLES.

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Description: 55 1/2x38 inches.Condition A-: repaired tears and minor restoration in margins; vertical and horizontal folds.A strong and simple image, echoing Dudley Hardy's poster for the theatrical production A Gaiety Girl. In fact, this unknown artist has kept the same color scheme (bold red background and woman in white dress) from Hardy's famous image and placed the central character on a bicycle! Although one of the small bicycle companies of the era, their premises was on the Avenue de la Grande Armee. They used this same woman and color scheme in many of their posters.

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ARTIST UNKNOWN CUISINE AU GAZ.

Lot 2: ARTIST UNKNOWN CUISINE AU GAZ.

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Description: 50x38 inches. Camis, Paris.Condition B+: restoration along vertical and horizontal folds; repaired tears in margins.While the printer Camis employed known artists such as Tamagno, they also used lesser-known draughtsmen for their clients who couldn't, or wouldn't, pay for a big-name artist. Such is the case here, for the promotion of gas stoves. The image is classical and nicely-drawn, but lacks the fluidity and personal style of an image by Tamagno, whose work is certainly being emulated.

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ARTIST UNKNOWN CYCLES GLADIATOR. Circa 1895.

Lot 3: ARTIST UNKNOWN CYCLES GLADIATOR. Circa 1895.

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Description: 38 1/2x53 inches. G. Massias, Paris.Condition B+: repaired tears and heavy overpainting in margins.During the 1890s when bicycles were one of the most advertised products in the poster world, the fantastic concept that a bicycle was powerful enough to propel a rider into space was used surprisingly frequently (see Swann Auction #1945 lot 59, Swann Auction #1991 lot 41). This is the most spectacular of all the posters mixing science fiction with turn-of-the-century eroticism, showing naked, beautiful woman (one can't help but wonder where the censors were when this project was proposed!) with extravagant red hair being pulled through the cosmos by her bicycle. The spokes sparkle like stars and two little wings on the bicyle pedals add to the kitschy charm and surrealist nature of the image. Although the poster is signed "LW" it is still considered anonymous, as the only possible LW is Lucein Weiluc, and this does not appear to be his work. Dodge p. 117, Voici p. 11.

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ARTIST UNKNOWN GRAND BAZAR DE LYON.

Lot 4: ARTIST UNKNOWN GRAND BAZAR DE LYON.

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Description: 42 1/4x57 inches. Lemercier, Paris.Condition A-: vertical and horizontal folds; restoration in margins.A classic turn-of-the-century lithographic snapshot,in an accomplished style, showing an elegant and sober woman, returning from a toy exhibition where she has showered her children with expensive toys. Behind the privileged trio, the family maid, dressed in her ethnic outfit, carries the purchases. (The image of a Breton maid, with an indispensable large umbrella, may well have been the inspiration for Joseph Pinchon's famous cartoon character Bécassine, who first appeared in 1905.)

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JUGEND. 32 volumes. 1896-1911.

Lot 5: JUGEND. 32 volumes. 1896-1911.

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Description: Each volume approximately 12x9 1/2 inches. G. Hirth's Kunstverlag, Munich.Condition varies, generally A-. Each volume bound in pictorial cloth.History was made on January 1, 1896, when Georg Hirth published the first volume of Jugend. The magazine was so new and innovative, capturing such cutting-edged trends in design and graphics, that it gave birth to the word Jugendstil. Hirth tirelessly sought out new artistic talents to include in his periodical. In its first year he featured the work of over 175 different artists from all over Europe. Every week a different designer was employed to create the cover, and in each case that designer was given total artistic freedom, even to the point of changing the magazine's logo! The publication was an immediate success, reaching, at its peak, a circulation of 100,000. The secret of its popularity was that Jugend featured both art and popular entertainment. A run of Jugend is a panorama of graphic creation and artistic styles from the era. This lot contains the first complete 16 years of the magazine, bound in 32 volumes, containing 832 issues. Each year containing hundreds of literary and artistic contributions, in black and white and color.

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