Things that make us smile!

Every year, right around this time, I start to compile a list of things for which I am grateful, and this year is no exception.

  1. I am very grateful to the City of Montreal for giving us a one-year respite on rebuilding the street where L’Affichiste is situated. Last year, from Grand Prix weekend in mid-June until Christmas Day, we had a crew of men, tons of debris, no sidewalk and lots of Montreal’s world-famous orange cones.
    This year, as a tribute the Montreal’s 375th anniversary, there was – Hallelujah – none of that.

Which brings me to…

  1. I am thankful that this year was the best year I have had in business. First-time tourists to the city, return customers, regular fans, Instagram followers – you’ve all made this year one to remember and I thank each and every one of you for that!Gallery photo 2016.11.17
  2. I am exceptionally grateful to my new friend Jeremy Aynsley for helping me in every conceivable way with my recently published book Beyond Poster Art in Vienna: The Life and Art of Julius Klinger. Jeremy graciously wrote the forward to the book, invited me to take his two-week Masters Seminar at the New School in New York and was kind enough to involve me in his Klinger exhibition at the Wolfsonian. Thank you Jeremy!29-jeremy-aynsley
  3. L’Affichiste is open 7 days a week, almost 365 days a year. That is only possible because I have the great good fortune to work with a talented group of young people, let by the incredibly efficient and lovely Lilian. Lil has worked with me for three years and has, in that time, learned a great deal about posters, poster galleries and just what it takes to help keep a poster gallery owner happy. She is dependable, good-natured, and proactive and I am grateful to have her on the team.IMG_5133-01-02-01

    Dana, our latest addition, is my favorite partner in dumpling addiction and is has become very posterific in a very short period of time.

    Desiree, Danijela, Ariella, Nathaniel and Alison were also part of the team this year and I am thankful for their contributions to helping make L’Affichiste an Old Port shopping destination.

  4. We’ve continued to enjoy great press coverage – in France, Austria, and the United States. The book generated good reviews, the exhibition is world-class, and our Instagram followers keep telling us we are the reason they’ve chosen to visit Montreal. We are truly blessed, and we know it.
  5. My son Giulian makes me proud every day. I am grateful for his love, his wisdom and for the fact that he is able to make me laugh at myself. Often.So, as this year comes to a close and next year (when the City will once again begin rebuilding St. Francois Xavier Street) is just beyond the next snowbank, I thank you all for continuing to support L’Affichiste and for permitting to work at a job I love every day.Happy holidays!

    xo Karen


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.


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.

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,



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 ☺

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.

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! 🙂