Spring Skiing, a Cataloguing Project

March 8, 2012 § 2 Comments

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Original poster for famous Swiss ski destination Davos, by Willy Trapp

My name is Karlie, and I am a fourth year student at UC Berkeley, studying History and Art History. I have been an intern at Vintage European Posters for almost a year, and I have loved the experience thus far.

Original ski poster by Ludwig Hohlwein

We recently had the opportunity of evaluating a collection of over 200 original ski posters for a client who has been collecting posters since childhood. Since we have almost finished the project, we wanted to share some of these great images with you.

Ski posters can be some of the rarest, and in some cases the most beautiful and intricately designed posters. The collection we worked with included landscapes, scenes of skiing and rolling ski slopes, and speed skaters racing against each other. It was a geographically diverse group of posters, with pieces from countries such as Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Russia, and even Yugoslavia and the United States. There were examples of graphic design from every time period of the last century.

Cataloging this immense collection of ski posters was no easy task. There were

Herbert Leupin's Davos

Original ski poster by Herbert Leupin

over 225 pieces, and each needed to be photographed, measured and then identified by the title, country of printing, printer, year of printing, and condition. Although some of the posters had the year apparent in the printer’s info or artists signature or contained the year in the title as part of a ski competition, finding the correct time period was a challenge.

We had to research the individual posters in our poster catalogues and the ski poster books that we had, and some had to be identified by the printing style. In different countries, offset printing was developed at different times, and thus through this detective work we could estimate the dates of each poster, whether the poster harkened from Germany, France, Russia, Switzerland, or Italy. Sometimes identifying the artist was challenging as well, since sometimes a scrawled signature or set of initials was all the information we had. However, we did uncover many famous artists such as Leupin,  Villemot, Willy Trapp, Ludwig Hohlwein, and Emil Cardinaux in the collection.

Walter Herdeg's St Moritz

Original ski poster by Walter Herdeg

For further reading, consider the book: A Century of Swiss Winter Sports Posters by Jean-Charles Giroud (Geneva: Patrick Cramer Publisher, 2006)

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§ 2 Responses to Spring Skiing, a Cataloguing Project

  • Susanna Dimmitt says:

    What a great project for an Art History buff to do! And a wonderful contribution too. Well done, Carlie. Loved the details. I remember seeing beautiful ski posters in Vermont and New Hampshire ski lodges in the 1950s when I was a child — I guess they made quite an impression on me, and they still do.

  • paula drutz says:

    I loved the descriptions of the posters, and all the countries that they were created. Also, how you determined where they came from by their print style. Great research and information about these rare posters!

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