On the Road Again.

Next week Kristina and I will be heading back to New York. The main purpose of
our trip is to see the first installment of the Sachs collection at auction (which I will
write more about in a moment), and we will also take the opportunity to catch up
with some new, and old poster dealer friends (who I usually call – lovingly – the
Poster Mafia). I’ve written before of how much I respect and admire my colleagues
in this business: almost without exception, they have been unfailingly welcoming
and kind to me, and I enjoy seeing them at auctions or over dinner.

1950s Sabena Travel Poster.
1950s Sabena Travel Poster.
Sabena Travel Poster - Brussels to NY.
Sabena Travel Poster – Brussels to NY.

I used to live in New York. At the time I thought it was one of the most exciting
places on the planet – there was always something going on somewhere, and the
energy level of the entire city was higher than most other places I had known. I
think it if there were a visual representation of the feeling I had while living there, it
would have looked kind of like my 1950’s Sabena posters: bold, energetic, retro and
avant garde, a little bit of everything, all at the same time. But I digress…

I’m sorry that no one has stepped up and offered to buy (and house) the Sachs
collection in its entirety: I think the $10 million price-tag might have had something
to do with that. There had been hopes by some of us in the poster dealer community
that this historic ensemble of posters would have been able to be kept together,
but, as of this writing, that does not appear to be the case. (You never know, things
could change…) For now, the first part of the Sachs auction (there are plans for
another two during the course of the year) is scheduled to take place on January
18, 2013 (you can look at some of the items which are up for sale here).

From a personal point of view, I am heartened to see that the collection includes
posters which I either have for sale in the gallery at the moment, or which I have
sold in the past. (Kind of makes me feel I am on the right track. I knew I was, but this
is like the cherry on the cake…)

Kulture vs. Humanity
Liberty shall not Perish (1918).
Liberty shall not Perish (1918).
On les aura (1915) - Faivre
On les aura (1915) – Faivre

From a dealer point of view, it does not appear that the items in the sale are priced
either well or poorly: they are mostly at market value. Which means that if I, or
anyone else, buys a particular poster from this collection, it is being purchased not
for resale, but for other, personal reasons. I will be buying some posters for clients,
and for this auction, am doing so purely out of goodwill : I am not charging a fee
for my services. I am doing so because of my attachment to the provenance of the
collection, and my admiration for the manner in which it was initially put together.
Hans Sachs writings indicate that poster collecting was a lifelong passion for him,
and if his collection cannot be kept intact, at least individual pieces can be placed in
the hands of people who will appreciate them and display then, as he would have
wished. (I’ve written about the Sachs collection before: you can find two blog posts
devoted to the subject here and here).

Dr. Hans Sachs in his study.
Dr. Hans Sachs in his study.
Sachs Family.
Sachs Family.

I think the smiling ghost of Hans Sachs will be looking down at the auction of his
works, remembering how he came into possession of each of the posters that bears
his inventory sticker on its backside. As I sit in that room, I’ll be thinking of him, and
I will be reminded, not for the first time, of the powerful connection between the
past and the present that posters allow us to have.

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