The Centennial of the Battle of Tannenberg; Germany’s Greatest Success of WW1

August 1, 2014 § Leave a comment

August 26th: One hundred years ago today, Germany achieved it’s greatest victory of World War One, which was defeating the Russians in the Battle of Tannenberg. This was more than three years before Russia pulled out of the war due to their Socialist Revolution.

"Help Stop This W.S.S.," Adolph Treidler, 1918. Fair Condition.

“Help Stop This W.S.S.,” Adolph Treidler, 1918. Fair Condition.

The Battle of Tannenberg was perhaps the most decisive and successful defeat during World War One. Fought in Poland, The Russian Second Army was destroyed and their commander killed by the German army under the commanders Hindenburg and Ludendorff.

Treidler’s poster above shows a menacing, animalistic German soldier amidst a village reduced to rubble. Below the soldier, the words “BUY W.S.S” urge citizens to buy War Savings Stamps, a type of stamp issued by the US Government to help raise funds for the war. The cost of the war for the United States was estimated to be overwhelming sum of thirty billion dollars; both War Savings Stamps and “Liberty Bonds” helped pay for this debt. Posters such as Treidler’s instilled a sense of panic meant to inspire contributions to the war effort through these War Savings Stamps.

This post was written by Nicole Garson, Intern, UCB class of 2016 and Elizabeth Norris, Proprietor 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 to confirm hours.

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A Centennial Commemoration of WWI

July 29, 2014 § Leave a comment

As poster collectors, we’ve been waiting for the centennial of WWI for many years. The anniversary is an obvious platform to showcase vintage posters- which are amazing artifacts- and can help us to narrate the “Great War.”

Starting today, watch for our chronological posts marking the 100th anniversary of momentous dates, and featuring  original vintage posters from the first World War from our current collection.

July 28th: One hundred years ago, Austria-Hungary’s declaration of war against Serbia caused Russia to mobilize, escalating the tensions and alliances of World War I.


Jules Abel Faivre, Original L'Emprunt de la Liberation, Printed 1918.

Jules Abel Faivre, Original L’Emprunt de la Liberation, Printed 1918.

In this poster by Jules Faivre, the Kaiser is shown with sword broken and his head down in defeat. Faivre uses flags to personify the allies and you see them driving away the dark clouds of war, and filling the page with color.  The artist exaggerates the flags strength by having them exceed the margin of the poster with the tip of their flag posts, this strong charge forward is in contrast with the broken sword point backwards.

Our collection of World War One posters is up to date and visible on our website.

Please don’t miss  “Your Country Calls! Posters of the First World War” exhibition at the Huntington in Pasadena on August 2nd. We were pleased to work on the conception of this show, and as consultants on object selection.  In total the show features 40 posters from the Huntington’s sizeable collection of original military posters.


This post was written by Nicole Garson, Intern, UCB class of 2016 and Elizabeth Norris, Proprietor 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 to confirm hours.

Visit our collection on the web at

Your Country Calls! Posters of the First World War

July 20, 2014 § Leave a comment

"Care for Her YWCA" by Adolph Treidler. Offset Lithograph c.1918

“Care for Her YWCA” by Adolph Treidler. Offset Lithograph c.1918

We love posters because they are beautiful. We also love posters because of the history they teach us. Nowhere is history better graphically explained than with the World War I poster. War was not a topic I was interested in school. It wasn’t until I first saw military posters that I began to find this time period interesting. When I realized that we would soon see the centennial of the outbreak of this war soon, I knew that it would be the very best time to call attention to these amazing posters.


Original WWI Poster. "Books Wanted" by Charles Buckles Falls 1918

Original WWI Poster. “Books Wanted” by Charles Buckles Falls 1918

Early in 2011 I contacted David Mihaly, Jay T. Last Curator of Graphic Arts and Social History at the Huntington Library in San Marino, California about creating a show based on my collection. I had thought about approaching other venues but had my heart set on the Huntington because of it’s reputation as a research institution. 

As it turned out, my proposal was not right for The Huntington because the posters were privately owned.  But the idea intrigued Mihaly, so he suggested a show based on the Library’s collection of World War I posters, and asked if I would consider consulting on object selection and preliminary research.


"Food Will WIn the War" by Charles E Chambers. c. 1917

“Food Will WIn the War” by Charles E Chambers. c. 1917. Original WWI Poster.

Of course! And I had no idea that the museum had posters in its archive, let alone World War I posters.  It was an amazing treat to be invited into the basement storage of this famed institution, where we picked through over 500 fragile posters on paper to select 50 for exhibition. Of that number there were at least 20 I had never seen before. Heaven.

“Your Country Calls!” will run from August 2nd to November 3rd. The dates roughly correspond with the declaration of war on July 28, 1914 and Armistice Day, November 11, 1918.  It will be held in the West Hall Gallery of the Library. Admission to this exhibit is included with paid admission to the grounds. 

I have learned a tremendous amount from this experience. Museums work at pace which is very different from dealers, everything is carefully considered, and carefully handled. It was a treat to work at this pace. My initial proposal included a book, but unfortunately, funds were not available for this. My thinking is that the war lasted 4 years, so perhaps in the coming 4 years, the second part of this dream will come to fruition.

American Library Association -Books Called For!

American Library Association -Books Called For!

This post was written by  Elizabeth Norris, Proprietor 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 to confirm hours.

Visit our collection on the web at

Local Gallery Illuminates World War I Centennial With Original Propaganda Posters

July 19, 2014 § 3 Comments

Press release: VEPCA’s upcoming show “A Call to Action; Posters of the First World War”

July 19, 2014


Adolph Treidler, "Care for Her YWCA" Printed c. 1918

Adolph Treidler, “Care for Her YWCA” Printed c. 1918




All over the world, museums are mounting shows about the Great War.  Here in Berkeley, Elizabeth Norris, poster collector and owner of Vintage European Posters and,  will feature over 100 original posters from her collection of propaganda posters in a show titled “ A Call to Action; Posters of the First World War”. The Show will run from September 13- September  23rd.


World War 1 Began 100 years ago with the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28th, 1914.  One month later, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia and over the course of one week, England, Germany, France, Russia and Belgium were at War.


“Recruiting, Fundraising, Food Conservation and Volunteerism are all fascinating parts of the war when you see them graphically represented in posters” Says Norris.“We didn’t have the internet in 1914, so posters were a crucial tool for world leaders to communicate with their citizenry during war time” .


“I have been collecting posters for this show for 10 years” Says Norris.  “What I want most of all is to make these artifacts accessible to the greatest number of people.  The centennial is an opportune moment” the show will feature original posters from the US, France, England and Italy.


Norris consulted on object selection for a World War One Poster Show at the Huntington Museum and Library in San Marino, California which opens in August 2014  .

Charles Buckles Falls, "Put the Pennant Beside the Flag" Printed c. 1918

Charles Buckles Falls, “Put the Pennant Beside the Flag” Printed c. 1918


September 13- September  23rd at Vintage European Posters

2201 Fourth Street , Berkeley, CA.

Open Tuesdays-Thursdays and select weekends


High Resolution Photos Available

All Photographs Courtesy of Vintage European Posters

Press contact Elizabeth Norris 510-843-2201 or



2014 Coastal Living Showhouse Now Open

July 17, 2014 § 2 Comments


"General Dynamics Undersea Frontiers" by Erik Nitsche 1960

“General Dynamics Undersea Frontiers” by Erik Nitsche 1960.

I am pleased to announce that we will participate in Coastal Living’s Showhouse on Coronado beach (off the Coast of San Diego). The Showhouse was designed by Burnham Designs an LA based design firm known for marrying classic with the unexpected. We met Betsy and Max at LA Modernism two years ago, and have enjoyed working with  them on various projects since then. Last year Betsy spoke on a design panel at Dwell on Design with Trina Turk. The house will open for tours  July 16th– September 30th, and will be featured in the October Issue of the magazine. 


“We really wanted to highlight artwork in this gem of a home, but it can be difficult to do on spec. Vintage European Posters is our ‘go-to’ for original vintage posters and it was easy to choose good things that show sail and sport from their website.”

-Designer Max Humphrey

"Air France Carte du Reseau Aerien Francais " Anon. Printed in France, 1937. Original color lithograph.

“Air France Carte du Reseau Aerien Francais ” Anon. Printed in France, 1937. Original color lithograph.

Burnham Design and Elizabeth Norris  looked for posters with water, sport and travel themes for this loveley vacation home. Burnham ultimately chose 5 posters, including a beautiful and rare Air France Map, as well as the stylish General Dynamics poster featured above,  .

We encourage you to tour the house and enjoy the pleasures of island life, paired with good design, and great graphic design.

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

You can visit the VEP collection online at or at our showroom in Berkeley. 2201 Fourth Street, Corner of Allston Way. Call 510 843 -2210  for hours  and appointments.

From “Vintage Posters: Stylish Art for the Modern Home”

July 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

Use vintage poster art to add a splash of color and character to any home.

Original American Airlines Hawaii Poster by John Fernie. Printed c. 1955

John Fernie, Original American Airlines Hawaii Poster, Printed c. 1955

The minimalist spaces and clean lines of most contemporary homes and apartments create a perfect backdrop for showcasing art. But if you’re intimidated by the idea of buying original art—and who isn’t?—why not consider vintage posters?

Whether advertising common products, marketing far-flung destinations, or serving as wartime propaganda, poster art of the 20th century can provide a vivid accent for your home. The lush colors of vintage posters offers great contrast to today’s minimalist décor, but can be equally arresting in traditionally styled environments.

Posters are also a cheeky way to illustrate our personal tastes—a favorite locale, a preferred beverage—while reflecting on our culture and history, be it a plunge into the art deco styling of the 1930s or the wartime propaganda of the early 1940s.

“They’re a lens into the twentieth century,” says Elizabeth Norris, owner of Vintage European Posters, a Berkeley, California-based dealer in classic posters who was first attracted to war propaganda posters. “I didn’t pay attention to history in high school and the only war I knew was the one I grew up with—Vietnam. But I saw WWI posters and it made me want to understand what happened in the 20th century.”

Before the advent of mass entertainment like TV and radio, average Joes had a far more limited understanding of the day’s events. Governments used posters to convey messages to the people—to enlist, to buy war bonds, to conserve resources, and more. In the early days, posters were also the dominant advertising tool, selling everything from movies to appearances by magicians.

After WWII, posters were used to popularize travel—by railways, cruise lines and airlines, as well as the vacation spots themselves—and later to promote events. And we’re not just talking American posters: In France, fine artists helped to create the now-iconic branding for products ranging from Gitanes cigarettes to Michelin tires.

The only problem was that posters were typically produced in limited runs of a few thousand, usually on cheap, acidic paper that became brittle and yellowed with time.

“They weren’t supposed to be saved,” said Norris. Indeed, the vast majority were thrown away.

Enter the Collectors

Poster collectors have been around almost as long as posters have been produced. But it wasn’t until the 1960s that buying and trading poster art became a serious business. Since then, a wide range of artists and subjects have become collectable.

Movie posters were among the first to skyrocket in price. While the first auction of 271 movie posters at Christie’s in 1990 netted $935,000, movie posters have continued to soar in value.

Original pieces from early horror classics likeKing KongFrankenstein, and Dracula now earn six-figure sums—when they even come onto the market. The record-holder is the original poster for Fritz Lang’s 1927 Metropolis, of which only four are known to exist. (One is reportedly in the hands of Leonardo DiCaprio.)

Because they were produced in limited quantities, posters tend to hold their value, making them a relatively safe investment. But fine poster art needn’t require a king’s ransom. While works by top artists from Toulouse-Lautrec to Warhol command a premium, excellent pieces from the 1950s can be found for a few hundred dollars.

Most dealers now invest in linen backing, a conservation process that washes and removes the acid from the paper before it’s mounted onto heavy-duty fabric. Tears and folds are restored, and missing pieces can be fabricated, extending the life of the poster by decades.

At the recent Dwell on Design show, Norris had several tables brimming with fine posters from both sides of the Atlantic. Here are just a few of the mid-century favorites we lusted after.

To see all images from this article, view the full article on by clicking here.

This was written by Dave Swanson on

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

Pop up open weekend July 12-13, 2014

Please call 510 843 2201 or email vintage to confirm hours.

Visit our collection on the web at

Vintage Posters Jazz on Fourth St. Celebration: May 18

May 16, 2014 § Leave a comment

Original Josephine Baker's Farewell Tour Poster. By Ventouillac in 1975. Offset Litho.

Original Josephine Baker’s Farewell Tour Poster. By Ventouillac in 1975. Offset Litho.

On May 18th, mark your calendars for the 19th annual Jazz on Fourth Street Festival.

Vintage European Posters will be rolling up it’s doors for this harmonious event. Jazz on Fourth Street is a free festival that will benefit the young jazz prodigies of the Berkeley High School Jazz programs. This long-standing event has become a tradition in many respects to the deep history of jazz in the Bay Area, particularly Berkeley.

In addition to raffles, interactive displays, and children activities, the festival will feature legendary jazz vocalist Ed Reed, as well as a special performance from the entire award winning 22-piece Berkeley High School Ensemble.

Come on down to  ‘South of Fourth Street’   to peruse wonderful original jazz related posters (we have 3) and enjoy our collection of over 1000 original posters.

The streets between Hearst and Virginia will be closed on 4th Street however there is usually parking South on 4th street near VEP. There is a lot on Allston Way at 5th, and one at the end of our building, which are rarely used on Sundays.  But you didn’t hear it from us!


This post was written by Christopher Gonzalez, Operations Director of Vintage European Posters and Edited by Elizabeth Norris, VEP’s Proprietor.

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 to confirm hours.

Visit our collection on the web at