Posts Tagged ‘The Beatles’

Design | Modernist Posters

Friday, May 1st, 2015

Paul Rand,
Minute Man, 1974
Estimate $1,000 > $1,500

Modernist Posters
Swann Auction Galleries
New York City | USA
Exhibition May 2, 4, 5, 6, 7
Sale 7 May 2015
13.30 EST / 18.30 GMT

AIA New York
Group of ten posters,
1990s > 2000s
Estimate $2,000 > $3,000

Richard Avedon,
The Beatles
One of four posters
and a banner, 1967
Estimate $2,000 > $3,000

If you punch ‘American posters’ into Google search, and click the Images option, page upon page of disordered, unsifted stuff will come up. There’ll be a few great designs you recognise instantly. Just a few. Much of it will be mediocre. A lot of it will be rubbish. You’ll wonder what some of it is doing there. If you refine your search and put in, say, ‘American film posters’, the first few pages at least will roughly match the subject, but it’ll be a random selection of everything with those key words attached. You could do the same for American music posters, or advertising posters. If you happen to  find a couple of items that you like, even if the colour is reasonably accurate, they’ll probably be in low resolution, so the detail will be fuzzy, which means you won’t get more than a general idea of what the original poster is like. If you feel like buying a poster, you’ll be lucky to find an original, and, if it’s more than a few years old, you’ll most likely have to put up with a copy, having little idea of the quality until it arrives.

Now that bidding online is commonplace, sales like next week’s Modern Posters at New York’s Swann Auction Galleries are open to a worldwide market, which is great for them, but in turn also allows us to look at a vast amount of original, often rare examples of graphic design on our computer monitors, or mobile devices, in fairly decent image resolution. The beauty is that all of the material has been examined by experts, and usually comes from private or corporate collections. These days, the sale catalogues, available in book-form for most auctions that can be ordered in advance on-line, are usually very well-researched and well-produced, and contain detailed information on each item, its provenance and general state. Sometimes the catalogues themselves become, over time, collectable.

Kenneth D Haak & Paul Smith,
Get All The News / And Get It Right /
The New York Times, c 1951
Estimate $1,000 > $1,500

George Maciunas,
USA Surpasses All The
Genocide Records!, 1969
Estimate $400 > $600

Often, just as on eBay, you can bid up to a certain deadline, but taking part in the live sales is more fun. With a bit of savvy and a few deft clicks, you can buy a design classic at a good price and arrange to have it delivered direct to your door. Better still, even if you have no intention of buying, but happen to be in the right place – in this instance, New York – you can stroll around the viewing exhibition inspecting any or all of the lots for free, returning as often as you want before the sale starts.

Swann’s auction includes archive Swiss, Polish, German, French and Japanese posters, as well as many by British artists. There’s a 1907 poster by Munich secessionist artist Franz von Stück, and a Peter Behrens design for the Deutsche Werkbund exhibition, 1914. Swiss polymath Max Bill is represented by an advertising poster (1932) for the modernist furniture company Wohnbedarf. No less than seven Cassandre posters are in this sale, including his famous Dubonnet (c1956) work, estimated at $2,000 – $3,000. Nine single lot Edward McKnight Kauffer posters range in estimated price from $500 > $18,000, while three Abram Games WWII works will also be sold. There’s a Massimo Vignelli (1963) poster for Pirelli, and a square poster by Gerit Rietveld.

Andy Warhol,
Fifth New York Film Festival /
Lincoln Center, 1967

Estimate $1,500 > $2,000

Tomi Ungerer,
The Voice / The Magician, 1968,
for The Village Voice
Estimate $500 > $750

Constantly exposed to a lot of American TV and films, and some American magazines – up until recently, unless we visited America, had access to the Art Director’s Club annuals, or specifically searched for them on the internet, Britons and Europeans rarely had the opportunity to see a representative selection of original American posters, let alone buy them. Comprising roughly 50% of the total number of lots, a small sample of these accompany this post.

The Modern Posters sale at Swann Auction Galleries also includes rare non-poster items, such as Herbert Bayer and Walter Gropius’s Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar 1919 – 1923, bound volume, and Bayer’s Austellung / Europäisches Kunstgewerbe exhibition catalogue (a copy of which is in the MoMA collection), both with bold and uncompromising typographic cover treatments. There’s also a group of 7 copies of bauhaus, the school’s magazine, first published in 1926, with cover designs by Herbert Bayer, Joost Schmidt and Hannes Meyer, from the 1928-29 period, for which bidding is expected in the $3,000 > 4,000 bracket. A group of 8 issues of the magazine Vanity Fair, published between 1930-35 is estimated at $700 > 1,000.

Images Courtesy Swann Auction Galleries

Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design and gardens, and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you.

The publishers of The Blog insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being sent to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees which may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Photography | Auctions | Portraits of Women

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Modern & Contemporary Photographs
Yann Mouel
Paris, France
Sale: 9th November, 2012

Paris, France
Sale: 16th November, 2012

Paris, France
Sale: 16th & 17th November, 2012

Modern & Contemporary Photography
Villa Grisebach
Berlin, Germany
Exhibition: 23rd–27th November, 2012
Sale: 28th November, 2012

Are real women, as portraiture subjects for photography under-represented? Maybe. A glance through the catalogue of today’s Yann Le Mouel auction of Modern & Contemporary Photographs in Paris – one of four major European photography auctions this month – reveals that of the 261 lots some 42 are portraits of well-known 20th century male figures or groups, among them: politician Fidel Castro, artists Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, musicians Johnny Hallyday, Serge Gainsbourg, The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, Billy Idol, fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent, and photographer Donald McCullin. Although many unidentified females appear, often nude, partially-clothed or in a couple of instances, pornographic poses, famous or even identified women are rather less in evidence. Of the few labeled ladies, Princess Diana in tiara and pearls, photographed by Patrick Demarchelier, Colette by Janine Niepce and Weegee’s Norma Devine at Sammy’s Bar, New York, 4 December, 1944, strike a bold presence.

To mark the 65th anniversary of Magnum Photos, Sotheby’s Paris is offering a unique set of 65 images dedicated to the nude – an unusual subject for this co-operative, whose photographers are better known for chronicling world events – a very mixed bag of works in which images by Henri Cartier-Bresson and Eve Arnold are included alongside those from the younger generation of Magnum photographers, such as Paolo Pellegrin and Harry Gruyaert. Jane Mansfield and Marylin Monroe are amongst the mainly female subjects, of whom few others are identified. Elsewhere in the same sale, there’s an unusual full length photograph of Lizica Conreanu, Romanian dancer and member of Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes posed in a dance position, in the artist’s studio, by sculptor Constantin Brancusi, together with a stark, asymmetrical, untitled head and shoulders portrait of a woman by Dora Maar. Diane Arbus offerings include Woman with a Briefcase and Pocketbook, N.Y.C., 1962 and topless, Waitress, Nudist Camp, N.J., 1963. Bold, explicit images from Helmut Newton’s Big Nudes series, each identified by first name only, are also on offer.

A print of Peter Lindbergh’s The Wild Ones, shot in New York in 1991 that features super-models, Cindy Crawford, Tatjana Patiz, Helena Christensen, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell, Karen Mulder and Stephanie Seymour is included in the Christie’s sale in Paris, next weekend. There’s a couple of pictures of Kate Moss, too, and hot American art photographer Alex Prager’s Eva, from the series Week-end, 2009. All beautiful, but do models really count as famous people? Perhaps a few, like Kate Moss, transcend their clothes-horse role and become celebrities, in the process taking on tangible personality. Striking close-ups by Man Ray of mannequins push female anonymity to the limit, however his striking, uncompromising profile of the surrealist artist, Bona, 1955 – who, with a little research, it was possible to discover is Bona de Mandiargues – has profound substance. Peter Beard’s Karen Blixen in Rungstedland for the End of the Game, Dec. 3rd, 1961 is up close and feels very personal. Here too, Cecil Beaton’s multiple-exposure, portrait of actress Beatrice Lillie, shot around 1930, makes a strong statement. Interestingly, (always referred to as ‘first wife of László Moholy-Nagy‘) Lucia Moholy’s 1926 portrait of artist Lily Hilderbrandt, is one of the few images of named women, in these four November auctions, photographed by a woman. Another is Annie Liebovitz’s remarkable Louise Bourgeois, New York, from 1997, being sold at Berlin’s Villa Grisebach, where 184 lots are on offer, varying in content from recent architectural photography by minimalist photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto, Boring Photographs, 2000, 468 C-type prints by Martin Parr, and works by Daido Moriyama, to 1950s and 60s images by Will McBride and much earlier stuff from photography pioneers such as Karl Blossfeldt. Images of identifiable women, again, are few in number but there is a very sensuous, sexually-liberated, colour portrait of Marilyn Monroe, shot in 1962, from the man who surely captured her character and vivacity better than any other, Bert Stern – a snip at an estimated €1.000-1.500. There’s also a characterful and beguiling, 1976 close-up by Robert Lebeck of Romy Schneider in a tweed flat cap, smiling, with a cigarette in the corner of her mouth. Jackie Kennedy and her Sister at the Funeral of Robert Kennedy, New York, 1968, by the same photographer and showing the grieving sisters, kneeling side by side, hands clasped in prayer, draws the emotions in another direction. Milton H Greene’s 1952 portrait of Marlene Dietrich – recognisable from her swathe of blonde hair and perfectly-shaped legs – whose face isn’t shown, cleverly turns the negative aspect of anonymity on its head.

Anonymity itself is of course compelling and single names – probably often invented, sometimes with the intention of obscuring the the identity of the sitter or of adding exotic cachet – tantalising. Full, real names, however, lift the veil and bring the viewer into direct contact with the subject, whatever the sex, allowing us the privilege of intimacy and them the dignity of existence and perhaps a deserved place in history.

Images from top
From the Villa Griesbach sale:
Louise Bourjois, New York, 1997
Annie Leibovitz
Gelatin silver print

Marylin Monroe, From ‘The Last Sitting’, 1962
Bert Stern
C-Print, 1978. Kodak-Paper

Marlene Dietrich, 1952
Milton H Greene
Vintage gelatin silver print with gouache

From the Christie’s sale:
Karen Blixen in Rungstedland for the End of the Game, Dec. 3rd, 1961
Peter Beard
Gelatin silver print mounted on cardboard, enhanced with ink, gouache
and blood

Kate Moss, Little Nipple, 2001
Archive Lambda print

Tell us what you think
The Blog is about art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that currently interests us which we think might interest you

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin

Book | Psychedelic Art

Friday, March 9th, 2012

Electrical Banana Masters of Psychedelic Art

Norman Hathaway & Dan Nadel, Damiani, Spring 2012

The 1960s and psychedelia were finally over. The world’s first supergroup, Cream, formed in mid-1966 – the year that the hallucinogenic drug LSD was made illegal in both the UK and the US – had broken up in late 1968. The 1969 Beverly Hills murders of Sharon Tate, actress and pregnant wife of director Roman Polanski, heiress Abigail Folger and four others, by Charles Manson and his family of followers had contributed to an anti-hippie backlash. At the end of the same year, the Altamont Free Concert in California, headlined by The Rolling Stones, became notorious for the fatal stabbing of Meredith Hunter by Hells Angel security guards. In London, in 1970, virtuoso experimental guitarist, Jimi Hendrix, who had disbanded The Jimi Hendrix Experience, choked to death on his own vomit. Janis Joplin died the same year – of a heroin overdose. In 1971, heart failure aggravated by heavy drinking brought about the death of another of psychedelia’s iconic figures, Jim Morrison of the Doors – the band named by him after author Aldous Huxley’s account of drug experiences in The Doors of Perception.

The word psychedelic had indeed been coined by British psychiatrist, Humphrey Osmond, in a 1956 letter to Huxley, who had been experimenting with the hallucinogenic drug mescaline. Psychedelic rock was a style of music that was inspired or influenced by the miasmic psychedelic drug culture that had steadily been establishing itself amongst the young in the UK and in America since the late 1950s. It attempted to replicate and enhance the mind-altering experiences of psychedelic drugs. Emerging out of the folk tradition, becoming an international musical movement associated with a widespread counter-culture, psychedelia came to the fore in 1966 and reached its peak between the 1967 so called ‘Summer of Love‘ and 1969’s Woodstock rock festival, reported by the BBC as, ‘Three days and nights of sex, drugs and rock and roll…’.

Peering back now, our vision obscured by time and the various attempts to reincarnate the psychedelic era’s music and culture – notably by British, 1980s bands Echo & The Bunnymen and The Stone Roses and later, Blur – not forgetting Glastonbury and the Burning Man festival in Nevada – through the dark shroud that hung over the music scene at the beginning of the 1970s, Flower Power, guitars that sounded like sitars, LSD, The Byrds’ Eight Miles High, The BeatlesSgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP and the alternative Oz magazine, would seem to merge into a single amorphous whole. And it’s difficult not to lump the phantasmagoria of imagery that psychedelia generated into one. Hathaway and Nadel, Electrical Banana’s authors – I can’t help thinking Electric Banana would have been a better title – set themselves the onerous task of examining the international visual language of psychedelia, via its graphic legacy, with the aim of identifying the most important artists and showing that it was far more innovative, compelling and revolutionary than was previously thought.

Three important contributors to the genre and my own personal favourites, all featured in Electrical Banana, are Martin Sharp, Heinz Edelmann and Tadanori Yokoo. Born in 1942, hailed as Australia’s foremost pop artist, Sharp’s covers, cartoons and illustrations were a central feature of Australian and London’s Oz magazine. Sharp co-wrote Tales of Brave Ulysses, one of Cream’s songs, and created the cover artwork for the group’s Disraeli Gears and Wheels of Fire albums. Emerging at around the same time as Terry Gilliam – of Monty Python’s Flying Circus fame, film and opera director – and Alan Aldridge – he of the 1973 book, The Butterfly Ball, made into a film in 1977 – Czech-born, Heinz Edelmann (1934-2009) – who had produced work for legendary art director/editor, Willy Fleckhaus, at Twen magazine, and also illustrated the first German edition of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was the multifaceted graphic designer and illustrator who created the comically hallucinogenic landscape of Pepperland for Yellow Submarine, the 1968 animated Beatles film. Japanese graphic artist, and close friend of author Yukio Mishima, Tadanori Yokoo, was born in 1936. As a young man, he became involved in the Japanese avant-garde scene of the 1960s through his designs for dance companies and drew influences from pop art, India and traditional Japanese prints. At New York’s Museum of Modern Art’s 1968 Word & Image exhibition, Yokoo’s 1968 poster for the Tokyo Gekio Theatre Company was named the work best encapsulating the spiritual atmosphere of the decade. Through international exposure, he became acquainted with rock and folk musicians who often asked him to design their posters and album covers. He became especially close to John Lennon and Carlos Santana and produced work for Emerson, Lake and Palmer and Cat Stevens. Interestingly, as Elelectrical Banana reveals, neither Edelmann nor Yokoo took hallucinogenic drugs.

Images from top
Record Sleeve for Cream’s Disraeli Gears, 1967 ©Martin Sharp
Stills from Yellow Submarine, 1969. ©Heinz Edelmann,
Movie Poster for the film The Trip, 1968. ©Tadanori Yokoo

Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art by Norman Hathaway & Dan Nadel is published by Damiani

Please leave a comment
Look out for The Blog’s posts on art, architecture, gardens, books, design and anything else that interests me and I think might interest you

Share this post
Facebook Twitter Linkedin