Planes, trains & ocean liners: Travel in every style to Swann Galleries' November Poster Auction

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Planes, trains & ocean liners: Travel in every style to Swann Galleries' November Poster Auction
Maurice Lauro, Trouville, 1927. Estimate $6,000 to $9,000. At auction November 19.

NEW YORK, NY.- On Thursday, November 19, Swann Galleries will offer Rare & Important Travel Posters, featuring classic images advertising ocean liner, rail, and plane travel, as well as scenic and exotic destinations.

The top lot of the sale is Roger Broders chic and stylish Dunkerque, circa 1930 (estimate $12,000 to $18,000). Broders’s clean, simple lines heighten the art deco sensibility of this poster, which features a couple pulling into the port city on their yacht though it is, in fact, an advertisement for travel by rail. Another Broders work highlighting a destination to encourage travel by rail is Chamonix Mt. Blanc, 1930 ($8,000 to $12,000), depicts an action-packed hockey match from the first winter Olympic games, held in Chamonix in 1924. Other compelling rail images in the sale include multiple posters by Leslie Ragan, such as The New 20th Century Limited, 1939 ($8,000 to $12,000) boasting a travel between New York and Chicago in sixteen hours; Frank Newbould’s Whitley Bay / It’s Quicker By Rail, 1940 ($7,000 to $10,000); and Cecil King’s LMS / The Merseyside Express, circa 1937 ($3,000 to $4,000).

Majestic ocean liner posters feature bold colors and geometry, including the 1928 United States Lines, by prominent poster artist Adolphe Mouron Cassandre ($10,000 to $15,000); and Willem Frederick Ten Broek’s towering Holland – Amerika Linie, 1936 ($4,000 to $6,000). Odin Rosenvinge’s scarce Cunard Line / Liverpool • New York • Boston / [Lusitania], circa 1907 ($7,000 to $10,000) features a dramatic nocturnal seascape crossed by the doomed ship, released before the ship’s maiden voyage in 1907. Another beautiful image colored with retrospective tragedy is Montague Birrell Black’s [White Star Line / Olympic & Titanic], circa 1910 ($7,000 to $10,000); printed in a limited run to hang in the White Star offices, the poster shows the Olympic and the world famous Titanic passing as sea. Another image of the Olympic is also included in the sale, James Scrimgeour Mann’s White Star Line / R.M.S. Olympic & Titanic, circa 1911 ($5,000 to $7,500).

Posters promoting travel by air are also included in the sale, including Paul Colin’s simple yet dramatic TWA / Trans World Airlines, circa 1950, which shows a TWA Constellation circling the globe ($4,000 to $6,000). David Klein’s bright, abstract depiction of Times Square in his poster New York / Fly TWA, 1956, captures the action and spectacle of the famous locale ($4,000 to $6,000). Jean Carlu’s graphic CAF / Voyages Aériens, circa 1926 features bold letters and the company’s emblem, which he designed ($4,000 to $6,000). Jean Jacquelin’s Au Maroc Par Avion / Aeropostale, 1930 contrasts the warms oranges and reds of Morocco against a clear blue sky pierced by a towering minaret.

Like Jacquelin’s poster, many images advertising travel to exotic destinations borrow their color schemes from the gorgeous views the locations will provide a traveler. Pierre Fix-Masseau’s Le Mont St. Michel, 1937, features the calm blue-green waters of the Cousenon River surrounding the fortified monastery ($2,000 to $3,000); while Sobha Singh’s See India / North-West Frontier, circa 1935, shows the mottled tan and greens of the Khyber Pass in what is now Pakistan ($2,000 to $3,000); and Zdenek Rykr’s Praha, 1937, borrows the striking shades of twilight to depict the bridges over Prague’s Vltava River ($2,000 to $3,000).

An Art Deco poster by Maurice Lauro for Trouville, 1927, is exceptionally rare–while vertical variants of the Trouville image have been seen, this horizontal version, also showing glamorous young people strolling down a boardwalk, has never been seen before at auction ($6,000 to $9,000).

The auction will be held Thursday November 19, beginning at 1:30 p.m. The auction preview will be open to the public, with an exhibition opening Saturday, November 14 from noon to 5 p.m.; Monday, November 16 through Wednesday November 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Thursday, November 19 from 10 a.m. to noon.

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