“Side by Side Britannia” and British American Friendship

July 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

Side by Side

Original Poster by James Montgomery Flagg, printed 1918

World War One, 1914-1919, was a hugely pivotal and defining aspect of the 20th Century. Not only did it, as the first example of total mechanized warfare, change the way nations operated on a geopolitical scale but it also set in motion cultural shifts that are continuously felt today. Social structures across Europe began to break down and the United States emerged from the war victorious and in a new position of power.

This victory formed an alliance between the United States and Great Britain that has persisted through World War Two and into the 21st Century. To commemorate this alliance 26 days after the official armistice the United States celebrated Britain’s Day. On the 7th of December, 1918 festivities took place in cities all across the country. This holiday remembered the noble sacrifice made by British troops and honored the alliance between the two powerful Empires. British and American flags flew together proudly while dinners and outdoor concerts helped mark the occasion. Special contingents of Canadian soldiers were welcomed in towns and cities along the U.S-Canadian border as Canada was an important member of the British Empire and the United State’s closest neighbor. The celebratory nature came coupled with eulogies and solemn words spoken in remembrance of the soldiers who lost their lives fighting on land and at sea.  

To mark Britain’s Day as a national event James Montgomery Flagg was chosen by the U.S. Government to create a poster. As one of the most famous artist and illustrators of his day, Flagg was an easy choice. His 1917 “I want YOU for the U.S. Army” poster featuring the now iconic Uncle Sam, gave a face and style to the United States’ war effort. It’s even said that he used himself as the model for the stern and commanding image. In his 1918 poster, Side By Side Britannia!, the choice to show Uncle Sam arm in arm with the lady Britannia epitomizes the relationship forged by war while also paving the way for a brighter future. Uncle Sam stands proud and jovial while Britannia walks by his side, stoic in her centurion’s helmet and Roman toga (her image was first seen around the time of the Roman conquest of Britain in AD 43). Both figures are seen walking forwards over the crest of a hill flanked by animals that represent their nations. The white eagle could symbolize the purity and and freedom of the United States while Britannia’s lion, a symbol of the British Empire dating back to the 12th century, epitomizes strength, courage, and honor.

As you can see this poster has a strip of white across the bottom with red lettering. Each copy of this poster had the white band left blank by the printing house, in this case the American Lithographic Company of New York,  and the red text would be printed later to reflect the information that was unique to each location the poster was hung. In this specific case the red lettering was added in Denver, Colorado and gave the dates and locations of the city’s Britain’s Day celebration. This handy device helped with military recruitment and celebrations but was also implemented by travel boards all over the U.S. and Europe. It’s a fascinating addition that can help establish where a poster was hung and in some cases the specific dates it was on display. Many artifacts and pieces of cultural history aren’t able to open windows to the past this wide and with such clear views backwards.  


 Vintage European Posters
Established 1997
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Our Shop:2201 Fourth Street, Berkeley Corner of Allston Way
Summer Hours Tuesday- Thursday 11-5
and select weekends
Also available by appointment

Please call 510 843 2201 or email vintage posters@vepca.com to confirm hours.

Visit our collection on the web at vepca.com


Nitrolian by Leonetto Cappiello

July 9, 2016 § Leave a comment

Printed in Paris in 1929
Original Stone Lithograph

Nitrolian Leonetto Cappiello Original poster products

“Nitrolian” 1929, Paris, printed by Maison Devambez

Cappiello is one of the most important poster artists of the 20th Century.He studied art in his native Italy, entering art school at the age of 13, and arrived in Paris during the Belle Epoque era, and at the height of poster design. He first worked doing caricatures of famous actresses such as Sarah Bernhardt, but soon turned his attention to the production of commercial posters. Cappiello’s use of bold colors and sharp contrasts was a departure from the early masters of the medium- Jules Cheret Alphonse Mucha and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. And foreshadowed art deco. Cappiello created his first poster in 1899 and very soon, was in constant demand. Over the course of his 40 year career, he created over 1,000 posters and enjoyed life in Paris as a successful working artist.

Nitrolian advertises fast drying paint and the design brilliantly explains the product without words –showing an elegant lady descending a staircase as a well appointed painter paves her way with red paint. Cappiello repeats the design of the poster on the paint can- a clever form of branding. This framed poster is currently on display in Healdsburg’s Barn Diva gallery

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters 

Vintage European Posters is a Berkeley based dealer of
Original French & American Advertising Posters.
Our Showroom is located at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, corner of Allston Way.
Summer of 2016 we are open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays 11-5
and select weekends. Please call ahead to confirm our hours.

Established in 1997, VEP now exhibits at 12 shows per year in California including
Dwell on DesignPalm Springs Modernism, and the Healdsburg Antiques on the Plaza. 

Our website http://www.vepca.com  is always up to date. 





French Loterie Posters by Edgard Derouet and His Workshop

January 14, 2016 § Leave a comment

Edgard Derouet (1910 -2001)


Advertising posters are meant to catch the attention of the passerby. While bustling about on daily business, a pedestrian may absorb the message on a poster, but if distracted, may miss the message altogether. This is where images can trump words, and a familiar image can work it’s magic at a glance. Graphic artists have always strived to find a vehicle which effectively commands the attention of the ‘(wo)man on the street’. One French artist who was very successful at this is Edgard Derouet who designed a clever campaign to promote the French Loterie which, in short order, became instantly recognizable to all.

The French Loterie has a complicated history. King Francis of France debuted the Loterie Royale in 1539, however it was not popular until the 18th century. The money raised by the lottery was used for various government projects, to rebuild churches, and government funds. Public opinions shifted, and when the populace complained about the lottery as exploitive, it was banned. The lottery came and went, enjoying periods of popularity followed by closures. One such closure came in 1836. The lottery did not exist again until it was revived by the socialist government, in need of funds, in 1933.

Edgard Derouet was chosen by the state to create and execute a campaign to promote the Loterie Nationale because of his formidable reputation as a graphic artist. This was not a small task because there had been no lottery for almost a century, and the public needed to be persuaded to participate.

As a young man, Derouet had studied with famed posterist Paul Colin, and been a friend to Monaco poster artist Geo Hamm. He founded a magazine devoted to graphic arts, which featured the work of posterists AM Cassandre, Roger De Valerio and Jaques Nathan, and so he was on the cutting edge of design – in touch with trends and versed in the (short) history of the advertising poster. Derouet won an award for best poster of the year in 1936, and his work was exhibited at the International Exposition of 1937.

What image could convey the excitement of winning the lottery? This is the question that Derouet must have entertained when confronted with this demanding task. How about a man jumping for joy? And this is what Derouet designed. The client liked the figure because of its well tied tie, it’s neatness and its nationalistic look. The simplicity of the figure allowed the artist to elaborate on the settings in which he placed him.

The idea was clever, because the figure became familiar almost immediately. Like the Michelin man, the public smiled fondly on the little jumping man. Derouet had created a popular success. In 1939 the government planned an elaborate PR campaign for the Loterie, with 24 special drawings to be picked in different cities, and they tasked Derouet with communicating this placement with each poster. A couple of examples include the poster ‘weekend’ which depicts the jumping man as a traveler at a train station. This drawing was held at the train station Gare St. Lazare. “Parfums” was held in the South of France in the town of Grasse, which has long been associated with the perfumes they make.

WWII put an end to lottery drawings in France. After the war, Derouet became the commercial director of the print house Bedos and Cie, where he worked for 30 years. Derouet retired in 1980.

Loterie posters are light hearted and fun. Here at Vintage European Posters, we have sold them for almost two decades and seen clients hang them in groups with great effect. This past summer, Vintage European Posters Collector Elizabeth Norris found two separate stacks of lottery posters from after 1950. Visit our collection of Loterie posters, including many by Derouet at www.vepca.com

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters and edited by Kate Klingbeil, Print Specialist.

Vintage European Posters is a Berkeley based dealer of Original French and American Advertising Posters. Established in 1997, VEP now exhibits at 12 shows per year in California including Dwell on DesignPalm Springs Modernism, and the Hillsborough Antiques Show.

Our Showroom is located at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, at the corner of Allston Way.

We are open most Tuesdays, and many other days. Our website is always up to date.
Please call ahead to confirm our hours.

Our website is always up to date. www.vepca.com

Herve Morvan: Jeunesse au Plein Air

May 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Looking for a summer poster? We know you’ll love the posters by Herve Morvan, whose bright, cheerful style and humorous graphics exemplify the spirit of summer!
Herve Morvan, a famous poster artist known for his playful style and use of color in his humorous lithographs, created original advertising posters that continue to amuse us today. Morvan was born in 1917 and lived until 1980; he enjoyed a prolific career and one that left a lasting impression on society.
Morvan was a friend of Raymond Savignac, who also had a playful style that hints at Morvan’s own. The two French artists knew each other and were influenced by the other’s style, though they competed in their field.

Herve Morvan, Bendix Vainqueur de l'Epreuve, 1968

Herve Morvan, Bendix Vainqueur de l’Epreuve, 1968

Morvan’s posters have quite a range of subjects, because he designed for everything for cigarette adverisements to household items, to travel posters.

Herve Morvan, Geveor

Herve Morvan,

Some of the most playful posters that VEP has of his are the Jeunesse au Plein Air posters. When translated to English, that means “youth outdoors” posters, and indeed, these delightful posters emanate youthfulness and creativity. These playful lithographs bear the words “au profit des colonies vacances,” or “in favor of camps” under the image. They promote children going to summer camps.

Herve Morvan, Jeunesse au Plein Air (sand hat), 1951

Herve Morvan, Jeunesse au Plein Air (sand hat), 1951

One of the posters depicts a smiling young girl with red hair in pigtails sporting a hat made out of a sandcastle. The viewer can just immediately imagine other children playing at beaches during a summer camp; the image of the sand castle hat immediately conjures up thoughts of summer, freedom, and fun for children. Morvan’s poster obviously accomplishes its task of promoting camps for children during the summer.

Herve Morvan, Jeunesse au Plein Air (Duck), 1951

Herve Morvan, Jeunesse au Plein Air (Duck), 1951

The second poster shows two young children catching a carefree ride with a duck. The duck has a camera hanging around its neck, as if it is ready to snap some Kodak moments at any second. The children smile happily, and the young girl holds a bouquet of flowers. The cheery green background evokes feelings of the great outdoors and the endless opportunities of summertime.

Herve Morvan, Jeunesse au Plein Air (Flower scooter)

Herve Morvan,
Jeunesse au Plein Air (Flower scooter)

Morvan’s posters still express the fun and carefree days of summer many years later. Stop by VEP soon to see some of Morvan’s original posters such as these!


http://meansheets.com/2011/02/10/herve-morvan-french-poster-genius/, http://grainedit.com/2012/01/23/recently-received-4/)

This post was written by Karlie Drutz, Vintage European Posters special projects coordinator, and edited by Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters.

You can visit our showroom at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley on Tuesdays and by appointment.

Call us at 510 843 2201 to schedule an appointment.

Our next pop up open weekend is June 8-9 2013. You can see our collection at www.vepca.com

You can also see us in Los Angeles at Dwell on Design June 21-23

The Value of an Iconic Image: James Montgomery Flagg and the Famous “I Want You” Poster

January 28, 2013 § 1 Comment

I want you, james montgomery flagg

Flagg, I Want You, 1917

Those new to collecting posters sometimes ask, “Why buy the original?” To answer that question, let’s take a look at a poster we all recognize, “I Want You” by James Montgomery Flagg, the iconic military recruiting poster from World War I.  The market performance of this poster over the past quarter century is impressive, and like all other posters, it tells a storyThere is a tremendous amount of information to be found about the artist who created this piece, and about the time and tradition from whence this poster came.

There were a recorded 4,000,000 copies of “I Want You” printed in 1917, so this poster could hardly be considered rare.  Yet, like all other advertising posters, the value of the piece today depends on how many are in circulation (remember most posters were used and destroyed) as well as the demand for the poster in question.  When an original “I Want You” poster sold at auction in 1985, it fetched $1,540* , which was high for a World War I poster at the time.  Twenty-one years later in 2006, it fetched $6,900. * Today, this piece can be found on the market for $8,500. This type of appreciation is not unusual for original advertising posters, particularly those by well-known artists.

James Montgomery Flagg was born in 1877 and sold his first illustration to the magazine St. Nicholas at age 12.  He began to illustrate regularly for Life magazine at the age of 14, and went on to work for such popular magazines as Judge, Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Liberty and Harper’s Weekly, producing on average of 1 illustration a day. Flagg was proud of his ability to work quickly.  He was a versatile artist, using oil paints, pencil, pen and ink, watercolor and even sculpture.

It is interesting to note that Flagg briefly lived in Paris in 1900, during in the heyday of poster art, when the city streets were made bright with the works of prominent posterists Jules Cheret, Alphonse Mucha, Henri de Toulouse Lautrec and Theophile Steinlen.  One can surmise that Flagg couldn’t help but absorb the fundamentals of good poster design from his exposure to the French masters of illustration.

When World War I broke out and the Division of Pictorial Publicity was formed to create a nationwide poster campaign, Flagg was an inaugural member.  “I Want You” was drawn first as a cover of the magazine “Leslie’s Weekly” and quickly turned into the most successful recruiting poster of all time.

Leete, Your Country Needs You, WWI

Leete, Your Country Needs You, 1914

The image owes a debt to the 1914 British recruiting poster “Your Country Needs You” designed by Alfred Leete, which features Britain’s Secretary of State Lord Kitchener pointing at the viewer with an imposing stare. While effective in communicating the message to enlist, the poster is monochromatic and stark.  By contrast, the Uncle Sam Image in James Montgomery Flagg’s  “I Want You” is vibrant with color, and the muscle and sinew of the character represent strength and grit.  It is no wonder the artist reprised the character in a number of other WWI posters.

James Montgomery Flagg

Photographs of Flagg dressed as Uncle Sam during WWII

James Montgomery Flagg was 64 when the US entered World War II, but he didn’t hesitate to step back into his role as a military poster artist.  The artist even posed as Uncle Sam in some of the designs (see image above), and he created other great WWII posters for the Air Force, the Marines, the Red Cross and others.  We currently have poster below in our collection, which revives the imagery of Flagg’s “I Want You” poster to encourage the public to get a war job – list of positions included! Few American illustrators successfully created such a legacy as did Flagg.  The demand for his original advertising posters is a good indicator of where the original advertising poster stands in today’s marketplace.

james montgomery flagg, i want you

Flagg, I Need Your Skills in a War Job, 1943

*Poster auctions International

Images from Wikipedia and “James Montgomery Flagg” by Susan E. Meyer

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris, Owner Vintage European Posters, and edited by Emily Jackson, UC Berkeley Art History Student and Gallery Assistant  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 OUTPOST 2201 Fourth Street, Tuesdays and Thursdays

Arts and Crafts Panels by Heywood Sumner

September 26, 2012 § 5 Comments

The upcoming Pasadena Heritage Show means that we are still thinking about Arts and Crafts homes over here at VEP! The prolific artist Heywood Sumner ( 1853-1940)  is a great example of an artist whose work would fit beautifully in a craftsman home. Sumner was an illustrator who worked alongside the Pre-Raphaelites from the late 19th century to the mid 20th century, in addition to being a prominent figure in the Arts and Crafts Movement.

Like many of the artists from this time period, Sumner worked in multiple mediums, and he also wrote about technique, so as to share what he had learned with other artists and craftsman.  Sumner was known for wood engraving, book illustration, and as a designer of wallpaper, tapestries and other textiles

We’ve recently had the pleasure of acquiring two new posters designed by Sumner, each of which presents a different poem bordering the image. The poem decorating the border of this first poem is entitled To Autumn and was written by the famed poet John Keats.

heywood sumner, arts and crafts, vintage poster, keats

Heywood Sumner, Season of Mellow Fruitfulness Autumn

Sumner has included several lines of the poem on the poster:

Season of mellow fruitfulness
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core

The full poem describes the feeling of summer days passing into autumn, full of hard work and hopefully a bountiful harvest. The poster image’s warm earthy tones coupled with the rhythmic rows of wheat suit the poem perfectly.

This second poster includes a poem written by Christina Rossetti, a prominent writer in late 19th century England. Christina’s most famous poem is the dark “Goblin Market” Her brother, Dante Rossetti, was one of the most well-known Pre-Raphaelites, and his lush paintings are banner images from the movement.

Heywood Sumner, arts and crafts movement, vintage poster

Sumner, When Every Leaf is on its Tree Summer

In this poem, Rossetti sings the praises of summertime:

When ev’ry leaf is on its tree
When Robin’s not a beggar
And Jenny Wren’s a bride
And larks hang singing singing singing
Over the wheat-fields wide

Unlike the golden tones in Sumner’s Autumn poster, this image is bursting with vibrant green life – you can practically hear the birds singing!

We are always excited to find British posters, since they are relatively rare. It was the French that were the primary collectors, remember, so whenever we can get our hands on posters printed in Britain – especially when they’re as beautiful as Sumner’s – we’re over the moon! The earthy browns and greens in these posters make them a perfect pair mounted side by side, and their unique horizontal shape would fit well with the beautiful moldings and friezes in Craftsman homes. Vintage posters may not be the first type of art to come to mind for the Arts and Crafts home, but explore poster collections with examples which come from the period (roughly 1880-1920) and you will find many appropriate works of art.

Check out our Pinterest to see other great examples of Craftsman style posters!

This post was co-written by Emily Jackson, UC Berkeley Art History Student and Gallery Assistant, and  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 OUTPOST 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

Motocyclettes Monet et Goyon

September 12, 2012 § Leave a comment

Gerard, Monet & Goyon, 1926

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.

Gerard, Boyriven, 1933

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

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