September 12, 2012 § Leave a Comment
In 1926, the poster artist O.K. Gerard designed this beautiful poster for Monet & Goyon Motocylettes. It was a momentous year for Monet & Goyon, only two years after one of the founding partners Andre Goyon died of pneumonia, and the year that the company sold the record amount of machines – over 10,000! Unfortunately, this peak in sales was followed only several months later by the death of Joseph Monet, the second partner, forever changing the face of the company. During the next thirty years the company continued to produce motorcycles, until 1959 when it was absorbed into Motostandard.
Relatively ittle is known about the artist himself, although we do know that he continued to work into the 1930’s, designing posters for companies like Boyriven, an automobile supplier. The difference in design between the art deco Monet & Goyon and the more tradition and detailed Boyriven is striking, considering the fact that Monet & Goyon was designed and printed a full seven years before Boyriven. The bright colors, bold shapes, and central silhouetted figure are very characteristic of the 1920’s and 30’s. Life was moving faster in the early 1900’s. Buses, automobiles, and motorcycles like the one in this poster were moving people quickly from here to there, and as a result advertisements had to use simple designs and bright, bold colors to catch the eye of the passerby. One can simply glance at this poster and know instantly what it is advertising, which was an essential feature of a successful poster design.
In contrast to the Monet & Goyon, Gerard’s later poster for Boyriven reverts back to a more detailed design that focuses less on the brand, and more on the image itself. Why does this poster seem to fall outside the art deco tradition? Check out the white box just below “Société Anonyme” – it’s a calendar! Companies would often print posters that included a calendar, which encouraged individuals to hang their advertisement in their garage or office for an entire year, giving individuals plenty of time to visually explore the image. Too simple, and individuals were more likely to take it down and throw it away. Talk about long term advertising!
This post was written by Emily Jackson, UC Berkeley History Student and Gallery Assistant
Edited by Elizabeth Norris, Owner, Vintage European Posters www.vepca.com
Vintage European Posters was established in 1997.
We are the West Coast’s Largest Dealer in Original Vintage Posters from France and the United States.
See us online anytime at www.vepca.com and at our Berkeley Showroom
2201 Fourth Street, Tuesdays and Thursdays
As well as at pop up open weekends (sign our mailing list to receive updates about pop-ups)
This fall we will exhibit at the Pasadena Heritage’s Craftsman Weekend October 20-21
The Fall Hillsborough Antiques Show November 2-4
October 31, 2011 § Leave a Comment
Posters sometimes elicit a strong reaction.
A beautiful image can make a client sigh, inadvertently. Clown posters actually
make some people jump out of their skin! WWI and WWII posters make some people
tear up. Until recently, I had never had a poster that elicited a chill.
Check out the General Dynamics Posters by Erik Nitsche. These rare Swiss posters were printed in the 1950s, to make people comfortable with the forward science of nuclearpower. Each poster says “Atoms for Peace”
in a different language.
Now if that isn’t propaganda, I don’t know what is. And these Cold War era posters do elicit a chill.
Recently, we had a man in our shop who was fascinated with
the ‘Nucleo Dynamics poster. When he left the store, he dug a little
deeper. Here is what he told us:
“As I had suspected, the arrangement of squares is a chopped
up (and incomplete) chart of the nuclides, which is a representation of the
different isotopes of every element. (Like a periodic table for nuclear
physicists.) One axis is the atomic number of the atom and the other is
the atomic weight (allowing differentiation of carbon-12 and carbon-14, for
example, or uranium-235 and 238).
The top section is the light elements, with hydrogen on the left to about neon
on the right. The middle section is much heavier atoms, from (I think)
tin on the left to somewhere in the lanthanide elements on the right. The
bottom section is the heaviest and least stable elements (or at least the
heaviest known in 1955). This terminus represented the focus of a great
deal of research, especially in 1955.
One other thing I should mention is that the coloring is not incidental.
The light blue squares denote stable isotopes. The other colors are all
unstable and therefore radioactive isotopes. The particular color for
each one tells more information about either the type of decay or the
half-life. Note that the heaviest elements (the bottom patch)
contain no stable (blue) isotopes.”
And this is why we love our clients. We share what we know about posters, and they
share what they know about the world. In
the end, we all end up enriched, a little smarter and a little more in touch
with history. Bravo!
Geek out with VEP at the next LA Trunk Show “Posters for
Peace” November 12-13, 2011 at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel
October 24, 2011 § 1 Comment
More than 600 posters were carried in the door at our showroom this month, and offered to me for our collection. What’s a paper geek to do? Finding enough good posters to keep our clients happy can be really hard work. I look for good images that people want to live with on their walls. I look for things in good condition. I try to buy them at the right price and be fair to the seller.
How about searching by category? Forget about it! I have no control over what I
find. One month we might sell a lot of French travel posters, so I might think, hmmm, we need more French travel posters. That will, of course, be the day that I find a stack of American World War I posters. As a dealer, I have to buy what comes to me if it is (see above) a good image in good condition.
This month, I wasn’t planning to spend any money on posters. I spent so much over the summer, it was time to take a break and just do some shows and sell some things. And then, the phone rang. A man whose mother had been an art lover, a world traveller, and a bit of a hoarder had passed away, leaving behind a room packed with paper. I said. go ahead, bring them in, and I cleared off some space on my table. When he arrived, he
brought about 12 sleeves of posters, each one stuffed on both sides with paper. As with every collection, I could see his mom’s footprint- I could see where she had been and when. She had posters for museum shows in 1962 in Italy, posters from musum shows in Britain in 1968, posters from Art shows in New York from 1971 and 1972. So, she clearly crossed the pond twice in the 60′s and hung out in New York in the early 70s. She had just about everything else as well. So, he and pulled out sleeve after sleeve of posters, and sifted through them. Nothing for me, nothing for me, nothing for me. I started to wonder if we shouldn’t just quit and load the sleeves back into his car, and then A TRAVEL POSTER. One single poster in the first 200, but enough to renew my spirits and make me empty out the next sleeves.
In the next hour, we turned up 29 more travel posters. There are posters for Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Spain, Italy, Israel and Greece. We rushed them to the linen backer, and will be ready to debut them in time for our next
two shows, Hillsborough and Santa Monica Trunk Show. There are 5 posters in the group that we have never handled before. Yay! I hope you will make it to one of these shows to see these gems before they are snapped up.
See them first at the Hillsborough Antiques Show November 4-6 at the San Mateo Event Center.