After months of blog silence (what can I say? The summer months in Montreal are busy at the gallery and I have not yet picked up the habit of writing daily…) PosterRomance is back and we have so much to report!

This year, unlike last (which would be, as Queen Elizabeth notably put it, an “annus horribilis” what with endless construction in front of the gallery that left us roadless, sans sidewalk, often powerless, and more than mildly depressed) has been fantastic.

 

I think the “Giant” dog looks kind of like the dog in our Wegman poster

 

Montreal is celebrating it’s 375th anniversary which has translated into street parties, roaming mechanical giants, fireworks festivals and record number of gallery guests. We’ve had people from literally all over the globe and it’s been fundamentally rewarding to helm an active arts destination in the city. Lilian, Desiree, Danijela, Allison, Dana and I have been so busy that the summer has literally flown by.

And the fall promises to be exciting too: after years of Klinger-centric work (you’ll remember that Beyond Poster Art in Vienna: The Life and Art of Julius Klinger was published last year. It is available for purchase here) the Wolfsonian Museum (part of Florida International University) will be opening their Klinger exhibition in October.

 

Lustige Blätter and Klinger’s 8th Issue War Bonds Poster (still available for purchase)

 

During the research of the book, and after I heard about the planned exhibition, I contacted the exhibition’s curator, the noted British academic and author Jeremy Aynsley, about whom I’ve written before and who has subsequently become a new friend and L’Affichiste supporter. With Jeremy’s help and support, I was able to take a two-week intensive Master Class in Modern Graphic Design at the New School in New York during the spring.

 

 

The class, offered at the Cooper-Hewitt, provided remarkable insight not only into the subject matter, but also offered a sneak-peek at some of the vast holdings of the Museum (which is affiliated with the Smithsonian). Although there were many highlights, on a personal and completely immodest level, the Smithsonian’s acquisition of my Klinger book for their permanent collection was perhaps my favourite moment.

The book also received notice from Steven Heller,  a man who is a legend in the world of modern graphic design. Mr. Heller has – both on his own and with his equally accomplished wife, Louise Fili – written many, many books on practically all elements of design while teaching, coaching, reviewing, and blogging on an almost constant basis. His review of Beyond Poster Art in Vienna not only made my mother proud, it also made me feel that the five years of effort that took the book from inception to publication were worthwhile.

 

Also available for purchase, Klinger’s Pessl Perfume Advertisement, and the exquisite Tabu Antinicotin

 

So, in October I will happily walk through the Klinger exhibition at the Wolf. Jeremy has been kind enough to keep me abreast of its progress and gave Giulian and I a ‘paper walk through’ of the show when we got together in London in July. Some of the Klinger posters held by L’Affichiste have been loaned for the exhibition and I am most certain that if Julius Klinger was alive today, he would be pleased, flattered, and honoured by the attention and detail that is being given to his work and his life.

PosterRomance is back and I do promise to write more fully and more often. If there’s a topic you’d like to see covered, let me know.

 
Happy Labour Day everyone ☺

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At the cusp of September, I eagerly await all the leaves looking spicy and textured, and Montreal looking like it’s blushing.

During the summer, I typically gravitate towards cool tones (in style and art-preference alike), to offset the heat I wish I knew how to handle more elegantly. Elegance is one thing I practised here, working at L’Affichiste, while trying to keep up with Karen and Lilian, who were overly kind and helpful from the very start.

I wonder sometimes what possessed me to interview for this job wearing what was essentially a Hawaiian shirt under a sweater, but Karen and Lilian saw some promise in me nonetheless. Since May, they have guided me to be the best gallerista I could be, and taught me that this journey of progress is an ongoing one.

This was a job I found so engaging, socially and mentally, trying to match customers with the posters of their dreams. I ended up matchmaking myself at certain points – an inevitability, with so many stunning pieces.

I thought I’d list a few of my favourites ; my selection actually intrigued me because it deviated from my initial expectations of preferring very minimalist art. I’m not sure exactly what that means in terms of what I learnt here, but I’ll say that working at L’Affichiste has opened my mind to new patterns and colours, both literally and metaphorically.

The landmark poster was Mads Berg’s Prosecco – a fan favourite that drew people in, cooing at the glamorous boat lady in the shawl. I practised describing her what felt like a hundred times a day, she was so popular. But who is she? I still wonder. My fondness for her starts with the beautiful combination of that crisp blue and a juicy, burnt orange. I wouldn’t have ever put those two colours together until that poster, and now I am a happy convert. My love of orange continues with the Dutch Art Nouveau poster “Instituut Overtoom”. Its magical, smooth graphics in the mushroom/light orange/faded black colour scheme completely enchants me.

See more stunning Mads Berg posters here, and grab the magnificent Instituut Overtoom while you still can!

I cannot fully describe my experience here without mentioning my introduction to Botero, and his irresistible voluptuous figures. A mix of parody, humour, and political commentary in fantastic and funny oversized characters ? Divine!

Discover Little Eyolf and more minimalist posters!

“Watercolours and Drawings” is a gorgeous black and white poster that is nothing short of darling. Find the charming Botero here!

My main return to minimalism happened with a theatre poster, for the play “Little Eyolf” by Henrik Ibsen. I love the red on this poster, I love the quiet but strong drama of the profile. The plot of the play was the cherry on top – I’m a sucker for intensity.

L’Affichiste has been an absolute blast – a new life experience I’ll cherish forever. I encountered so many beautiful and interesting people, including Karen and Lilian as well as my fellow coworkers. I thank everyone, customers and the L’Affichiste team alike, for allowing for me to have such a lovely time here. And I hope you’ll see me around sometime in the future!

Until then,

Danijela

 

I’ve become enamored with Danish posters recently. They are unfailingly cheerful, burst with color and make me want to visit Denmark – which, after all, is the purpose of travel posters! Over the course of the last year or so we have had the good fortune to obtain (and sell!) many posters created by own favorite contemporary Danish poster designer Mads Berg (see our gallery of his posters here), as well as some older Danish pieces.

I’ve written before about how many posters have hidden symbols or details which are obvious to people who know what they are looking at, and less obvious to others. The Denemarken poster (above, right) for instance, appeared to me to be a fairly basic travel poster. But upon closer inspection (and with a proper explanation kindly provided by a visiting Dane!) I began to see details that had previously escaped me. Dan the Dane, who came into the gallery with his lovely wife Sabine, explained to me that the poster is an advertisement for an inn, and that the small insignia over the door of the inn was in fact designed by the Danish Queen Margrethe II. Here is Dan’s letter:

“Hello Karen,

The Royal Insignia signified that the inn was one of [several] spread all over Denmark that enjoyed royal privilege, and I suppose also had some obligations. ‘Along the country roads in the middle ages many inns were established to look after the travelers for supplies and lodging. The distance between the inns could max. be about 40 Km., this being the distance a horse could do in one day. The first Danish inn to receive the royal privilege was Bromoelle Kro on Sealand in the year 1198.’

So you see it is quite the institution. You could I suppose compare this to the Quebecois Chemin du Roi as many of the important roads in Denmark at one very early point carried that name translating in Danish to “Kongevejen”.

Oh, and if you want more information on the current Danish monarch, Queen Margrethe II, you can just continue on the above web site to see all her ancestors and a couple of lines on their achievements. Her line goes directly back to all of them!!

Dan and Sabine”

(I’ve actually never before heard of the Chemin du Roi, but now that I have , I think that’s going to be a travel destination for next summer!)

I think Danish design is pretty neat (here are a couple of articles that I found online) and literally every Dane that I have met has been polite, charming and humble. Aside from the Chemin du Roi, I think I’ll have to put Copenhagen on my bucket list. Thanks Dan!

——

If you’d like to find out more about Queen Margrethe, you can do so here.

One day while Facebook surfing I found a quirky little Youtube video of three Indian fellows dancing merrily with their shovels. Being Canadian, and living in winter for a good part of the year, I wondered who these men were and why they were dancing in the snow. Here is the original video that I saw, and here is the Facebook page of the Maritime Bhangra group. Bhangra evidently started as a harvest dance, and brothers Hasmeet and Kunwardeep Singh celebrate this dance in a uniquely Can-Indian way. To gain a deeper perspective on the Singh brothers, you can find out more information here, and here.
I can’t tell you why, but watching these guys makes me very happy.

The Socovel and the Campari are two fabulous examples of the clean and refined design that typified many Italian posters of the 1940s and 50s.

Years ago I dated a man who owned a beautiful Ducati motorcycle. (He owned many beautiful bikes, but the Ducati was my favorite.) I had never been on a motorcycle of any kind, and felt that if I was ever going to ride behind anyone on any bike, it was going to be with this man on this bike. Every time I see this Socovel poster in the gallery reminds me of the thrill of that night. And every time, I smile.

(If you’d like to find out more about Ducati’s you can do so here, and here. If you’d like to find out more about that ride, you’ll have to ask me yourself! )

I love this article about the pill. Opening sentence: “The Pill” is a pill. (How’s that for stating the obvious?)

It’s hard to remember a time when birth control was not as easily available as it is now, but when the pill came onto the market in the 1960s, it created a firestorm of controversy (you can read a bit about that here).

Vittorio Fiorucci (whose work we are proud to carry at the gallery and which you can see here) had a ‘take no prisoners’ approach to life, birth control and sexuality. His poster for an International Exposition of Pornographic Art was, in fact, created for a non-existent exhibition: Vthe artist just wanted yet another excuse to showcase a woman’s body in his eponymous fashion. His bravado – and this poster – make me smile.

Last summer I drove across Italy to see a Christo installation on Italy’s Lago D’Iseo. The Floating Piers was a floating walkway 16 meters wide, 35 centimeters high, and roughly 6 kilometers long. Christo wanted a walk along the pier to replicate what it would feel like to walk on the back of a whale – and he did. Hundreds of thousands of people came to the sleepy lake towns of Sulzano and Peschiera Maraglio to experience this 14-day experiment, and I am very grateful to have been among them.

Villemot’s Perrier poster, itself inspired by a much earlier work by Hokusai, reminds me of Christo’s Floating Pier installation at Lago D’Iseo.

In case you need a good laugh, Reddit’s News of the Stupid can always be counted on for a giggle, Monty Python can literally make me laugh out loud, and if you ask me really nicely,
I’ll tell you on of the few jokes I know how to tell.

clairefoy-a

I thoroughly enjoyed the Netflix series The Crown… So much so that I watched it twice!

I thought the series was (generally) kind to the Queen, not quite so generous to her consort, and overall made a conscious and concerted effort to highlight the naughty and nefarious goings-on among the various royal houses and hangers-on.

There has always been a fascination with the Royal family’s public and private lives. During WWI The Illustrated London News featured stories about the nursing efforts of the Royal princess alongside write-ups from the Western Front. The recent US presidential results have drawn some pundits to point out “How watching Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ can prepare you for the Trump presidency” and Philip’s extra-marital wanderings have been examined and discussed in great detail, including a recent Vanity Fair expose.

Claire Foy as a young Queen, and our poster of a young British Miss selling Post Office Savings Bank accounts … both rosy-cheeked, both very sweet, and only one available for sale.

According to the British royal website, the Queen “has ruled for longer than any other Monarch in British history, becoming a much loved and respected figure across the globe. Her extraordinary reign has seen her travel more widely than any other monarch, undertaking many historic overseas visits. Known for her sense of duty and her devotion to a life of service, she has been an important figurehead for the UK and the Commonwealth during times of enormous social change.”

Her recent 90th birthday party celebrations (highlights of which can be seen here) once again raised the question of her succession, but given her life-long devotion to her crown and her country, I am fairly certain that everything will proceed just as it should. Long live the Queen!


Featured posters:

The L’Affichiste team of elves (that’s me with the list, Lilian next to me, Emily holding all the boxes, Alison directing the team, and Kate … well, Kate is in the basement wrapping up orders)

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has been working feverishly, putting together not only some great gift ideas, but also searching far and wide for some Christmas cheer. We’ve gone to the UK to check in on some great holiday-inspired ads (or adverts as they are called over there), and found this, this and our favourite).

This year we’re thinking gift sets. SO much better than the Old Spice soap-on-a-rope sets that you saved up to buy your dad when you were little, and the slippers he still keeps in the closet (his way of showing you he loves you), but something a little more grand and a lot more fun.

How about a matted vintage chocolate card circa 1900 (they were the precursors for baseball cards) and a lovely bar of chocolate, wrapped beautifully together and delivered to an office colleague with a sweet tooth?


We have individual chocolate cards at $75, and charming sets of chocolate cards (all vintage of course!) from $150 – $250. For $25 more, we’ll add the chocolate and pay for the shipping in the continental US and Canada* or delivery if it’s in Montreal. At that price, you might want one for every colleague in the office!

We have hundreds of Art Deco wine labels, framed and ready to hang in a kitchen, dining room, bar … they even look great in the bathroom! And when paired with a bottle of wine, they make a great gift for the banker, lawyer or doctor on your list.**

The framed labels are usually $175 all on their own, but for this Christmas, we will add the wine – gratis – and deliver it for free anywhere on the island of Montreal. Essentially, a $225 value for $175. Doesn’t get better than that!

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I love the tag line of the Burberry 2016 ad “People come to me with their dreams” (you can see the video here). My dream for the last five years was to write and publish a book about Julius Klinger, a prolific (and prolifically talented poster artist whose work spanned the Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods). Five years later, that dream has come true. The book is available on our website at $70, but for Christmas we are offering it at $50. It’s beautiful, colourful, and will make a great gift for anyone who likes art, posters, history and design. (While quantities last)

julius-klinger-book

(No, we’re not selling Mads himself, but he’s such a handsome devil that I thought we’d put his pic up anyway…)

From now until Christmas we are offering a 3 for 2 sale on Mads Berg, Montreal Olympics, and Montreal Opera posters. Buy two, get one free (While quantities last!), just use promo code 3FOR2 at checkout! This is a great way to collect some of the posters you’ve been checking out on the website (we don’t blame you!) – you could even buy two for yourself and give the third as a gift. (Now there’s a thought!) To see the full list of available posters, visit our website here. Any questions? E-mail us at info@laffichiste.com

We’re making our list and checking it twice and you should too… Tell us who’s on yours, what you’d like to send them, and we’ll do the rest. We might even put on a big furry suit and skate it right over – just like these guys.

Happy holidays everyone!

 

If you’d like to order any of our Christmas gift sets, leave your name, e-mail, and which set you’re interested in, and we’ll get right back to you!

 

*Some restrictions apply.

**Because of restrictions for shipping alcohol outside the province of Quebec, this fabulous gift idea is limited to clients within the province.

I wanted to write a blog post about elections and election posters without resorting to mentioning Trump and some recently leaked video about what Amy Schumer calls ‘lady parts’. (Well, I think both Trump and Ms. Schumer are more precise, but I’m a little old fashioned … still…) And today, October 16, 2016, just a few days after Bob Dylan was awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature (?!), I happened to find this great –Milton Glaser/Dylan-inspired Bernie Sanders 2016 poster. Poster Karma!

Many articles, books and blogs have discussed the power of persuasion that political posters have – and have always had – on public opinion. Here at L’Affichiste when we show posters by Alphonse Willette, we mention that he was often referred to as one of France’s secret weapons in the propaganda war that accompanied WWI.

I prefer our Journée du Poilu to the 2016 anti-Clinton poster on the right. For me, a solid propaganda poster needs to have a clear message: Journée du Poilu = home, hearth, romance. I’m not entirely sure what The Teflon Con means…

Great political poster artists have to be able – like all poster artists – to not only grab and keep your attention, but to impart a message that is memorable. Whether it’s the anti-Facism de Gaulle poster (below left) or the WWI Canadian bond poster (below right) each work managed to imprint itself on the viewer’s visual memory (this at a time before leaked videos …)

There have been some great articles written about political posters, like this one or this one.

Certain poster images have become unforgettable talismans of long-forgotten wars fought in far-off lands. As the Imperial War Museum has written about the Remember Belgium poster (bottom right)

“Ellsworth Young was responsible for one of the best-known American posters of the First World War. Taking a title which first appeared in two British recruiting posters, Remember Belgium, the artist uses the alleged atrocities committed by Germans in 1914 to generate sympathy for the Belgians and thereby encourage Americans to invest in war savings. Young did his design in 1918, but little else is known about the artist. The US war loan schemes were very successful, and by the end of the First World War millions of such posters had been produced, many using the Statue of Liberty (which became the Liberty Loan logo, designed by Adolph Treidler) or Uncle Sam as a motif. Such campaigns were even more effective than those launched in Germany (Joseph Pennell’s design of New York in flames, created for the Fourth Liberty Loan, was particularly successful). The message of Young’s Remember Belgium is simple, and its image clear and horrifying. Interesting is the resemblance between the German soldier and Otto Von Bismarck, whose appearance the artist would have known from illustrations. Also interesting is the large amount of plain green background (actually composed of green and blue, with small orange flecks), and the use of diagonals, indicating how effective Ellsworth Young was as a designer.”

 

As for me, I must say that I’ve found watching the US election to be an exhausting and rather unpleasant experience. Or as this Bernie Sanders (pseudo) campaign poster puts it…

bernie-sanders