A Penchant for Posters Leads to Auction Record – artmarketblog.com

 A Penchant for Posters Leads to Auction Record   artmarketblog.comThe recent publicity surrounding the depth of the Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec poster collection held by the National Gallery of Australia (NGA), which is currently being exhibited as part of their major Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition, got me thinking about the investment value of advertising posters.

Providing the investor/collector with an endless array of subjects and designs as well as a wide range of price points, the fine poster market is approachable by anyone from the novice collector to the serious investor.

An indication of how popular fine posters are becoming with investors and collectors, the New York based Swann Auction Galleries sold a copy of Adolphe Mouron Cassandre’s iconic art deco L.M.S. / BEST WAY. 1928. British Railway advertising poster for an amazing $159,000 against an estimate of $70,000-100,000 during their November 8 Rare and Important Travel Posters sale.

According to artprice.com, the $159,000 achieved for the Adolphe Mouron Cassandre poster by Swann Auction Galleries is a record for the artist at auction.  The previous auction record for Cassandre was set in 1997 with the same poster image which was sold for just over a third of the price that Swann Auction Galleries achieved.

The highlight of the Toulouse-Lautrec poster collection held by the NGA, La Goulue,1891, is one of the most valuable posters on the market today.  According to Jane Kinsman, Senior Curator, International Prints, Drawings and Illustrated Books at the NGA, “In the history of poster design, Lautrec remains its most pre-eminent figure and Moulin Rouge: La Goulue is most iconic. The original poster remains one of the rarest and is, therefore, especially desirable for the national art collection.”

Although the Gallery will not reveal who it purchased the poster from or how they came to acquire it, they do reveal when they acquired it (2010), which may provide a clue as to the price they paid and who they bought it from.

Two versions of the poster were sold by Sotheby’s New York in 2010.  The first, a two-sheet final state print, sold for $110,500 USD against an estimate of $100,000 – 150,000 USD.  The second, a slightly larger and more desirable three-sheet version, sold for $374,500 USD against an estimate of $250,000 – 350,000 USD.

The NGA acquisition is a three-sheet version of the print which means that they likely paid several hundred thousand dollars for their copy – and possibly bought it from Sotheby’s New York.

image: Cassandre, A.M. (1901-1968) – 1928 L.M.S. Bestway

*Nicholas Forrest is a Sydney/London based art market analyst, art consultant and writer.  He is the founder of the Art Market Blog (artmarketblog.com) which offers independent commentaries as well as research and analysis on the current art market, and has recently been published in Fabrik magazine, Verve magazine, Visual Art Beat magazine, Australian Art Collector magazine, Art & Investment magazine and many others.  Nic has made several radio appearances (both nationally and internationally) as an art market expert and has received press from the likes of the New York Times, Conde Nast Portfolio and Times of London.

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