Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Posters on Parade at Bloomsbury

by Stephen J. Gertz

Strictly speaking, the parade has passed us by: These posters were offered at Bloomsbury - London last month. Through the magic of digital technology, however, we can reprise the parade,  posters marching in reverse and reaching Booktryst for your delectation.

STREBELLE, J. Cadum. Pate Dentifrice.

I don't know whether to brush my teeth with this stuff or shmear the pate on a Ritz cracker. Either way, the Menthol of the Alps has never been so breathtaking. Q: Why is she brushing her cheek? An unusual Alpine custom? OCD?

PURVIS, Tom. Continent via Harwich. c.1930.

"I'll have the ham & swiss harwich, on rye. You?"

ANONYMOUS. The Rider. c. late 1950s.

"Going my way?" Yes, please. This traffic-stopping Hell's Angel prefers the ergonomic comfort of a Vespa for a gracefully feminine mount and dismount. (And what man reading this post is not wishing he were, if only for a moment, this particular Vespa).

CASSANDRE, A.M. Maison Prunier.

Maison Prunier serves lobsters and fruits de mer. People, another story. Yet - "Waiter, there's a human in my soup!

CHAMBERS, Charles. [Food Will Win the War]. 1917.

The above is one of the most extraordinary I've seen i quite a while. An in-Yiddish poster appealing to Jewish immigrants in America, their gratitude, and their sense of patriotism to help the war effort. The visual message is clear: You're lucky to be here; now, help our boys over there.

TEXIER, Rene le. Shell X-100 Motor Oil.

 Put a Dali in your tank - the gas mileage is surreal. And the Birth of Venus motif has never been more surrealistic: Aphrodite as a motor oil - for that well-lubed, washed, stabilized, and protected intimate experience of love.

DOMERGUE, Jean-Gabriel. Monte-Carlo.

Flower-girl at a Mafia funeral.

HOHLWEIN, Ludwig. Stakato. 1935.

She may be stacatto but she looks legato to me.

STEINLEN, Théophile Alexandre. Le Réve.

What's a poster sale without a Steinlen?

SEM. [pseud. of Georges Goursat]. Pout la Libertie du Monde. c. 1917.

Okay, you "naysaying nabobs of negativity" (Spiro Agnew, per speechwriter William Safire), this poster is not telling the story of America sinking hopelessly into deep debt but, rather, the status of the United States as a symbol of freedom for all the world, from seas to shining seas.

KAUFFER, E. McKnight. Washington, American Airlines. 1948.

Who says corporate America has taken over our government? Not the great E. McKnight Kauffer. But an aisle seat in the Lincoln Bedroom would be nice, considering how agonizing the TSA security line must be for this destination. Skip the Goulash ala Capitol on this flight, go with Dry Roasted Congressional Nuts.

Images courtesy of Bloomsbury Auctions, with our thanks.

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful posters. I'm a fan of WWII posters myself - wonderful artwork. I went a few years ago to an exhibition in the Guggenheim Museum in NYC for a Norman Rockwell exhibit of his original art. If you thought the posters were magnificent you should have seen the paintings.


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