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During the five years it took me to write The Life and Art of Julius Klinger: Beyond Poster Art in Vienna, I often wondered what I was doing. Because book writing is a fairly solitary research-centric, crazy-making hobby, my friends and family began to question my focus (sanity) and determination.

I had never written a book.

I wasn’t an academic.

Julius Klinger wasn’t a poster artist many people had heard of.

To be honest, there were times when even I began to question my own focus (read: sanity) and determination.

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The book is a testament to what can be accomplished when you set your mind to a task and create – by sheer will – the environment within which to accomplish that task. It’s not a perfect book, but it’s as close to perfect as I could make it.

It was while researching the book that I discovered — through my (now) friend Susan Reinhold — the Wolfsonian Museum in Miami. She alerted me to the fact that the Wolf had vast Klinger holdings, and suggested that perhaps the Museum would be able to help me locate Klinger posters and ephemera that could be used in the book. I believe that the Wolfsonian itself was surprised at how many Klinger posters they had in their possession – so much so that they were compelled to create a Klinger-centric exhibition (which opens tomorrow!)

The exhibition – which I previewed today with its guest curator Jeremy Aynsley – is spectacular. It features Klinger’s posters, book covers, typography, and illustrations in exhibition halls at the Wolfsonian which have been designed to highlight the color, humor and skill that Klinger brought to each of his commissions. Skillfully combining large posters with smaller-scale works, Jeremy has contextualized the exhibition with artifacts – ceramics, bronzes, lace – from the Wolfsonian’s enormous holdings … resulting in a show that humanizes both the art and the artist.

When I began the journey that resulted in The Life and Art of Julius Klinger: Beyond Poster Art in Vienna, I never could have imagined the interesting people that I would meet, the incredible learning that I would undertake, and the exceptional exhibition that is about to open. I feel very grateful to have been part of this process, and I think Julius Klinger would be very happy indeed to see his posters exhibited, admired and discussed.

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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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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)

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(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…

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I’ve written about the Olympics before (check here and here), but somehow watching athletes of all nations parading (and in this case, samba-ing) into the Maracanã stadium never gets old. Rio means heat, samba, teeny-tiny bikinis, and a bunch of new tear-jerking ads by companies like Visa.

When – other than two weeks in the summer every 4 years or so – do arcane sports like archery get top billing on television sets around the world?

I never tire of seeing Michael Phelp’s magnificently sculpted body swim farther and faster than anyone else … and I think it’s pretty cool that a 31-year old new dad brings his baby to the pool. (Wanna see how good he is? Check here and here)

It’s no surprise that the American female gymnastics team brought home the gold – they were favoured by many odds-makers – but perhaps you didn’t know that this was the last Olympics for the famed Martha Karolyi. She and her husband Bela have worked with the team for decades. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they definitely get results.

I’m not going to post the video of the poor gymnast who broke his leg on the vault (although the bewilderment on his face was priceless), nor will I take sides on the doping scandals (although I do think they are scandalous) …

Years ago while travelling from here to there I sat next to an interesting man who was in charge of a global anti-doping agency. We talked – as travellers do – without too many filters, and although he was very vague, I had the sense then that things were going to heat up in the doping world. Lo and behold, here we are … The Russians claim they’ve been framed, the world believes the Soviets have been caught, and historians just chuckle because this is neither the first, nor the last, Olympic scandal.

We have a selection of some pretty fantabulous Olympic posters from Munich, Montreal and Moscow. As a special bonus for our loyal blog-readers (and in celebration of Rio), for the month of August (2016) we’re offering 10% off our Olympic posters.

So, make yourself an ice-cold caipirinha, put on some sexy samba music, and enjoy the show. After all – it only happens once every four years! 🙂

One of the most wonderful aspects of my Klinger project (if you’re a regular reader of the blog you’ll know that I’ve been – forever! – working on a book about Julius Klinger, which, if the fates align properly, will be published later on this summer) is the fascinating people I have met along the way. Curators from around the world, poster experts from the US, UK, Germany and right here at home, as well as dealers, auctioneers and aficionados who have shared their posters (and their love of posters) with me from the moment I began this project … they have all played a huge role in helping and guiding me over the last five years.

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Nicho Lowry of Swann Galleries in New York – shown here during one of his regular stints on the Antiques Road Show

The poster world – populated by people I often refer to as the Poster Mafia – is actually a small group of people who buy and sell posters for a living. But, like any intimate group activity, these people work in the field because they love posters. They can tell you about the posters that got away from them at auction, about the posters they sold and wished they hadn’t, about the posters they keep for themselves… They (ok, we) can tell you about the history of a poster by looking at the paper upon which it is printed and how the ink has been absorbed by that paper. We can trace the development of individual poster artists through their work and through the influence they had on their peers. We can explain these things to you because we spend our days and nights around and about posters – because we love them. (Or at least I do.)

Working on the Klinger book gave me entrée to another group of poster people: museum curators (and the people who work with and for them) at both private and public institutions in Israel, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Canada, the United States and Switzerland. While dealers work (in a very hands-on manner) with posters, touching them, showing them, packing and unpacking them, curators rarely handle their posters, and when they do, they do so while wearing white gloves (generally in climate-controlled environments).

Recently I had the opportunity to meet Bettina Richter, the curator of the poster collection at the Museum für Gestaltung in Zurich. Bettina, and her registrar Patrizia Baldi, had consented to letting me reproduce some of their Klinger posters in my book and as I was travelling nearby, I asked if I might be able to visit their archives. (The Museum für Gestaltung has a few Klingers that I have not been able to locate elsewhere and I was very excited to see them.) After a guided tour of the general design archives (which were exquisite, immaculate and absolutely fascinating), and a brief meeting with Bettina, she took me down to the poster archives and graciously let me see some of ‘her’ Klingers.

When I was able to see the ink on these wonderful Klinger posters and discern which lithographic plate had run through the press first, or when, before Bettina uncovered an entire poster, I could tell from just a corner which poster it was going to be, I realized how much joy this project has brought to my life, and how much I have grown and learned through the process. In those moments I thought of Hans Sachs and how when describing his own (lost) poster collection he wrote: “I am grateful to the fates for the decades in which I was able to find such joy in my treasures. They were an infinitely rich and significant part of my spiritual, artistic, and human development… In gratitude I should like to shake the hand of each (poster artist) for the hours of artistic stimulation their creative work has afforded me.”

I am grateful to the fates Sachs mentions, but also to the humans – people like Susan Reinhold and Marc Choko – who have consistently (and insistently) helped me bring this project to life. I’m grateful to the people who work with and for me at L’Affichiste, for their dedication to the gallery (and by extension, to me) has permitted me to be absent for weeks and months at a time while working on this book. But most of all, I’m grateful to Julius Klinger, for it is his work that has made me fall in love with posters, poster history, and the Poster Mafia, all over again.