Lyon & Turnbull announces The Ski Sale including an important private Swiss collection

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Lyon & Turnbull announces The Ski Sale including an important private Swiss collection
Alex Stoker, Klosters. Photo: Lyon & Turnbull.

EDINBURGH.- Lyon & Turnbull are partnering with vintage poster specialists Tomkinson Churcher to present the annual Ski Sale in Edinburgh on 15 January 2020. This hugely popular auction celebrates the golden age of travel, from the turn of the twentieth century through to the 1950s, a time when the first ski resorts competed to be recognised as the most glamorous, with some of the finest designers and artists commissioned to create stylish posters urging holiday-makers to visit. The auction will comprise of approximately 70 poster lots, with estimates ranging from £300 to £9,000.

Of particular note is an important collection of Swiss and European posters form the 1920s to the 1960s, which have been in the possession of one family for 100 years.

The collection is owned by Roland and Marie Louise Zahnd, who inherited a large part of it from Marie-Louise’s father, Louis Nicollier, a graphic designer who worked in Switzerland and Belgium during the 20s, 30s and 40s. Nicollier’s network of lithographic printers throughout Switzerland gave him access to a wide array of posters. He was thus able to build up an important collection, fresh from the lithographers and artists themselves, showcasing some of the most iconic symbols of Swiss alpine culture.

His daughter, Marie-Louise and her husband, Roland Zahnd, were able to grow and develop the collection during their careers as graphic designers at some of the major agencies in Switzerland. Their contribution includes important mid-century posters with huge graphic impact, further telling the story of Swiss graphic design and the expansion of Swiss alpine tourism.

Marie Louise and Roland have since moved to the South of France where Roland continues his artistic work, now creating sculptures and paintings that punctuate their Provencal home. The collection has been stored in their house, away from the light, since the time of acquisition, resulting the posters having exceptionally bright and fresh colours. Part of the collection (which is not for sale) was given to Malou and Roland’s children and grandchildren, keeping the legacy of their ancestor’s extraordinary careers alive.

The Ski Sale will take place alongside Lyon & Turnbull’s opening auction of 2020, Contemporary & Post-War Art on 15 January. Viewing will take place in the company’s London Gallery at 22 Conaught St from 19 to 23 December, before heading to Edinburgh for viewing from 12 to 15 January.

Interview with Marie-Louise and Roland Zahnd:

What is your favourite poster?
Roland - Probably the "Champery" poster which compares the female body to the curves of a ski slope. I find this a beautiful metaphor. This poster followed me throughout my career since it was displayed in my office at Zahnd SA.

Malou - It is very difficult for me to pick my favourite - it is my father’s legacy and I like them all. Now, as a graphist, I look at posters for their advertising value and impact. From that angle, The VICKS baby is very powerful one as well as the Roger Gallet lipstick poster.

What is your favorite poster created by another artist?
Roland - I also particularly like the Roger Gallet poster created by Fritz Buhler. This poster is esthetically impactful. It has a very simple yet has an exquisite composition with only a glove, a mouth and a lipstick. It trully is a beautiful poster which also has an emotional value for me since it was created by my mentor – Fritz Buhler - who had a considerable influence on my own work.

Why sell the collection now?
Malou and Roland: We have already distributed a large part of the collection to our children and grandchildren who each had the opportunity to choose 2 posters of their choice. Louis' collection is alive and well in our family: for example - one of these biggest posters, is displayed in our grand-daughter’s apartment in London. Yet we cannot display them all, there are too many. We cannot honor them properly. So we hope that Louis' legacy can be appreciated beyond France, Switzerland or Belgium. It's a bit of history of post-war Europe, the democratization of tourism and the internationalization of the Swiss alpine culture.

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