December 9, 2010 § Leave a Comment
If you are a vintage poster enthusiast, you probably look for galleries whenever you travel. You are liable to find poster dealers in major cities- New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Paris. It is more of a surprise to find an enormous collection on a tiny Pacific Island. Alan Dickar started dealing in antique posters in New York in the early 1990s. He moved to California, where he established himself at shows. I met him in 1997, and we soon began to work together. We loved doing the now defunct PMA collectibles show, where we met actresses from Planet of the Apes, Michael Jackson and got a nice smile and a wave from Neil Young. Ever restless, Alan travelled to Maui Hawaii in the year 2001 and set up a temporary installation. His plan was to find a way to do shows there, and to return to the Bay Area after a few months.
Success changed that plan. Soon, I was busy culling the California collection and shipping enormous tubes of posters to him every month. Eventually, when it became clear that the island had it’s hold on Alan, we split up the businesses. I bought the California business and Alan went on to sign a lease in Maui. Today he still operates Vintage European Posters at 744 Front Street in Lahaina. We have remained great friends, and have independently continued to cultivate separate contacts in France. This is a tremendous asset to us because it means we turn up different posters and can share our finds.
Last month I paid a visit to the Maui shop. The staff in the shop are friendly and helpful, and they have made some great improvements since my last trip. In addition to the gallery, VEP Maui now has a well organized storeroom and workshop, where I was able to comb through extra goodies. Also, there is a very professional linen backing studio on the other side of the island with an innovation I’ve not seen before- a lighted table. This is useful in looking at paper before backing to see hairline cracks and areas where paper may be thin. It helps avoid problems when the posters are wet to see the fragile areas ahead of time. Brilliant! While I was there, I saw a Parapluie Revel which had been de-zinced (Some posters were mounted onto zinc so they could be displayed outdoors for an extended period of time without disintegrating.) and was about to be mounted and restored.
I also got to visit with our Framer, Glenn Young of Artscapes framing who lives upcountry in Maui and commutes to the Bay Area to run the Campbell shop. He took us on a beautiful hike to Twin Falls where we swam under the waterfall.
February 3, 2010 § Leave a Comment
The conservator receives the posters and measures and evaluates them. They look for tears, creases, foxing (mold) tape and other imperfections, and then they send us an estimate of costs to mount and restore the posters.
We prefer to buy posters in ‘A’ condition- those that need no restoration, but that is not always possible. Paper builds up acid over time, it gets brown and brittle, and every time it is handled, there is risk of damage. When posters are folded for years, the acid build up on the folds is noticeable, and the paper can tear easily on the fold.
Once approved, the posters are wet mounted. They are washed and then mounted onto acid free paper and cotton duck fabric which has been stretched onto a frame. The posters stay on the frame, where they cure. Next, conservation artists get to work. If a poster is missing paper, the conservator will trace the loss to create a template. Then, they search for a paper match to fill in the loss. They try to find paper scraps from the same time period and country as the poster they are restoring if possible. The scrap will be trimmed using the template, and then pieced in. Lastly, the piece in is colored using water color pens to blend it with the surrounding paper.
Good restoration should be visible. It shouldn’t be a surprise to you, the buyer, and it should always be 100% water reversible. Here at VEP, we work with the best conservators to ensure that every poster we find is restored to archival standard.