History of Carthusia- Profumi di Capri

November 10, 2016 § Leave a comment



This magical poster has been a favorite our staff and clients for many years. Vintage European Posters collector Elizabeth Norris was lucky enough to find a roll of these orignal advertising posters in the South of France, and has had them lovingly cleaned and mounted to archival standard on to acid free paper and linen backing. There is a romance to the Isal of Capri, and as a result, people fall in love with the place. The poster is explanatory of the perfume and includes illustrations of flowers and fruiting moss suggesting that the scent has floral and woodsy notes.

While browsing in a boutique in Toluca Lake I saw a sign with the Carthusia symbol. I was surprised and asked the owner of the store. It turns out that the perfume is still in production today. She was generous enough to give me a few samples which do evoke the mysteries of the island. I wanted to know more, my search led me to a great tale about how this perfume came to be.


The myth recounts that in 1380, the Prior of the Carthusian Monastery was caught unawares by the arrival of Queen Joanna of Naples. He picked her a bouquet of the most beautiful flowers from the island. These remained in unchanged water for three days,  when he went to throw them away, the prior noticed that it had acquired a mysterious fragrance unknown to him. He inquired of the friar versed in alchemy, who traced the origin of the scent to the “Garofilium Silvestre Caprese”. That water became the first perfume of Capri.

History relates that in 1948 the Prior of the Monastery found the old perfume formulas and upon obtaining permission from the Pope, revealed them to a chemist from Piemonte, who created the smallest perfume laboratory in the world, calling it Carthusia after the island’s Monastic order.

The symbol of the Carthusia portrays a flower siren that brings to mind the surreal and mythological landscapes of Capri’s heritage. She appears to be in the midst of an evolution, blooming with myriad colorful flowers, from which Carthusia perfumes flow.

The poster was designed in 1948 by the painter and illustrator Mario Laboccetta. Laboccetta was born in Naples in 1899, but his career blossomed in Paris in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He gained some fame with his detailed, colorful and sometimes erotic  magazine and book illustrations. He published work for Charles Baudelaire’s book of poetry Les Fleurs du Mal, and the book Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Tales of Hoffmann).  Laboccetta returned to his native Italy after World War II where he continued work, eventually settling in Capri, where he died in 1988.


To see more of Labocetta’s illustrations or visit the perfume’s website, check out the links below:



This post was written by Logan Prather, LA Liaison for VEPCA
Edited by Elizabeth Norris, VEPCA Collector

Vintage European Posters was Established 1997
Member IVPDA
Our Shop: 2201 Fourth Street, Berkeley Corner of Allston Way
Winter Hours Tuesday- Thursday 11-5
Closed on Thanksgiving
Open Every Weekend until Christmas

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

Sunset Idea House in Berkeley

September 4, 2016 § Leave a comment

Idea Houses are like decorator show houses for engineers.

Besides beautiful finishes, they showcase state of the art technology for today’s home. This years’s idea house does this in spades.

Nestled in the hills of Berkeley above the historic Claremont Hotel, this year’s house was designed by architect Robert Nebolom with interiors by Geremia design.

We have been lucky enough to provide artwork for The Healdsburg Sunset House in 2012, which was a very cool Bluhome.  As well as for the Coastal Living House on Coronado Island in 2014.  So we were delighted to hear that this year, the house is in our own backyard.



Downstairs bedroom with really cool Heath Tile. The room has a Moroccan vibe. That’s Sarah and I taking a photo in the mirror.

This makes sense as Sunset Magazine has moved their HQ from Menlo Park to Oakland’s now thriving Jack London Square. In former editor Peggy Northrup’s editorial explaining their move, she tells readers that Sunset is ‘following the reader’ from the burbs to the city.  Sunset’s offices moved from the city of San Francisco to Menlo Park in 1951, as an entire generation was fleeing cities and moving to the suburbs. In a sea change, new urbanism is here and many are choosing to return to urban hubs where culture is abundant. It is a phenomenal testament to our (then Mayor of Oakland, now 2x CA Governor) Jerry Brown that downtown Oakland has turned the corner from night-time ghost town to thriving arts and food destination.

Read more in 7 x 7 Magazine.


The entry floor of the house with killer Bay view behind. David Lance Goines’ Berkeley Horticultural nursery poster behind us. VEPCA designed frames with Geremia.

Our posters can be seen on the top floor of the house, flanking the elevator. The frames are our latest off white and were framed by The Studio Shop.

Get tickets to the 2016 Sunset Idea House here.  The Sunset House is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am – 5pm thru September 25, 2016.




Established 1997, Vintage European Posters is a Berkeley Based dealer of
Original Advertising Posters.
We offer linen backing, custom framing and a collection of over 2,500 original posters from Europe and the The United States.
Visit Our Showroom at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley
Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 11-5
as well as select weekends and by appointment.

To reach us, please call 510 843 2201 or email vintage posters@vepca.com

“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
Member IVPDA

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

Linen Backing and Poster Conservation

December 3, 2015 § Leave a comment

We are pleased to offer linen backing services for our clients here in our Berkeley Showroom. We handle hundreds of posters every year and can give estimates as to how much restoration is advised and what it costs. The turnaround is typically 6-8 weeks. We encourage you to bring your posters into the shop for examination and estimates.

What is linen backing?

It is a conservation method that has been used with posters for over a century.

Linen backing can flatten folds and creases in posters.

Today’s techniques utilizes 100 percent archival materials to stabilize and preserve vintage posters

Fragile posters are mounted onto a canvas backing with an acid free paper barrier between the poster and the cotton canvas.

The paste used in backing is an acid free vegetable cellulose paste which is water reversible.

Linen backing makes it possible to be handled without risking tears or further wear to the fragile paper

Once backed, posters can be restored. Some common restorations include piece in and color. Piece in uses old paper scrap to fill in paper losses. The addition is sanded to make it the same thickness as the poster, at which time it can be colored to blend in.

Restoration of color is done using acid free water color, watercolor pens, and colored pencils. Posters can lose pigment for a variety of reasons – folds, wear, sunlight and oxidation are some of them.

Optional additional services include washing, bleaching, and micro- trimming rough margins.

When is backing and restoration appropriate? 

When a poster has value, either monetary, historical, or sentimental

When a poster has been compromised in some way- torn, folded, water damaged

With advertising posters. Linen backing is the industry standard. However with rock posters and movie posters, linen backing is possible but some collectors frown on it.

4th lib before & after logo

This post was written by Elizabeth Norris,
Owner of Vintage European Posters
Founded 1997
Visit our collection of original advertising posters on the web
or in our showroom at 2201 Fourth Street in Berkeley, California

WWI Shipbuilding

September 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

Lie, Jonas. 1918. Original Stone Lithograph.

“On the Job for Victory,” Lie, Jonas. 1918. Original Stone Lithograph.

From 1914 to 1917, the United States, as neutral power, stood to profit from shipping goods to all European belligerents. “America’s trade with the Allies was fast becoming the mainstay of the American economy” * After the US declaration of war in April of 1917, the government’s mobilization of American land, labor and money produced a tremendous fleet of ships and expanded shipyards virtually overnight.


To rebuild the country’s once proud merchant fleet (while the belligerents were too busy to compete) President Wilson signed the Shipping Act into law with a working capital of fifty million dollars. The Shipping Board was authorized to purchase, charter, requisition and operate a commercial fleet. The Act also established the Emergency Fleet Corporation, responsible for new construction. Steel magnate Charles M. Schwab, who designed a ship that could be mass-produced, using common items of bridge and structural steel, headed the EFC. The EFC’s goal was to launch 100 ships per day. By July 4th of 1918, less than 15 months later, the EFC was able to launch 95 ships per day.


Over the course of the war, 50,000 Americans went to work in the shipyards. By the end of the war, the shipping board commanded 2,600 vessels and was almost 60 % larger than it’s pre-war size. Critics argue that business interests led to a far greater expansion then what was really needed.


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

Our Shop is Open Tuesdays-Thursdays from 11-5 and select weekends.
2201 Fourth Street, Berkeley Corner of Allston Way

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

Visit our collection on the web at vepca.com

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