Tell me why: Some attributes regarding posters
Once upon a time – one finds it hard to believe – posters put a spell on even the hurried beholder. Whether they advertised products or holiday destinations, events or ideas: Eye catcher followed upon eye catcher, art and commerce merged into one – at the pulse of the times. Striving for the bold and attention-grabbing synthesis of image and text, the creator of these posters was driven to fresh and powerful solutions time and again.
First, mostly designed by creators of fine arts, then by exponents of the developing guild of graphic artists for everyday items and typographers, the masters of their trade printed the posters as lithographs in rich colors and sweaty manual labor with limestones which almost weighed a ton. The ever-growing presence of photography and the triumph of the less expensive offset printing technology which – in the case of Switzerland – accelerated after World War II, were the beginning of the end for lithographic posters.
It is the nearness to people’s everyday lives – combined with the then still intact artistic freedom of the creators and the bold colors of lithography – that explains the appeal of the posters that were made up to approximately 1960. It is almost impossible to resist this appeal. They are witnesses of days long gone which might not have been better but in which art and commerce were aligned in such a fabulous way as has not been the case ever since.
It is often pure coincidence that single sheets of a circulation that originally only numbered a few hundred copies have survived to this day. This is astonishing even though in the early days there were aficionados and public institutions which appreciated the aesthetic, artistic and historic value of posters and collected them. There is no denying that they were bulky, fragile articles of daily use, printed on cheap paper, meant for being hung up and therefore destined to perish within a few days. Thus, the existing copies which were created by well-known artists such as Emil Cardinaux, Otto Baumberger or Martin Peikert are sought-after works with which chic winter sports destinations or brands rich in tradition were advertised and which – on top – managed to convey the message in an attractive way.
If such posters are in a comparably very good condition despite their ephemeral character, despite their size and despite their fragility then desirable works turn into extremely sought-after trophies and collectors’ items, which again can result in five-digit prices. However, that’s what also those sheets are which to an extent belong to the canon and in which an investment is still worthwhile in spite of the increase in value so far.
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The ABC of describing the condition
When assessing the condition of a poster, the criteria are by far not as strict as the ones applied to, say, hand-signed prints. Nevertheless, the condition of a poster of course plays a central role when it comes to assessing it.Learn more
Your search requests, our visualisations
Should you be looking for a certain poster, we are delighted to support you. Additionally, we are able to produce visualisations of our posters in your rooms. Do not hesitate to contact us, without any obligation. We usually answer messages within 24 hours, often much more quickly.Learn more