On May 10th, Swann Galleries Auction house in New York will hold an auction featuring rarely-seen Secession and art nouveau posters. Swann is known to be one of the best sources for Art Nouveau posters. On December 18, 2013 Swann Galleries sold works from Julius Paul Collection of Posters– a treasure trove of Austrian and German posters from the turn-of-the-century including an original hand-stenciled poster by Josef Hoffmann announcing the opening of the first Wiener Werkstätte showroom in Vienna, 1905.
Titled Graphic Design, the May 10th auction contains rare posters and ephemera from the great periods of graphic design such as a rare Italian futurist poster by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and Swiss Design posters by Jan Tschichold and Josef Muller-Brockmann. There are several German and Austrian posters posters including designs by Emil Orlik, Rudolf Junk, Emil Bernad, Paul Otto Rössler, Paul Hosch, and Franz Von Stuck.
The sale also features a rare poster by Berthold Löffler marking the celebrations of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy in 1908. Löffler, along with Carl otto Czeschka, played a key role in the new aesthetic of the Wiener Werkstätte in the years after the departure of Koloman Moser and Josef Hoffmann in 1908, introducing the distinct spirals, decorative patterns, and hand-drawn expressive typography. If, however, you prefer the geometric and architectural quality of the early years of the Wiener Werkstätte years, there is a poster by MANUEL JOSEF MARGOLD with its distinctive checkerboard grid-based pattern which came to define the Secession and early Wiener Werkstätte years.
On offer are also poster designs by two Secession designers: Heinrich Lefler (who also founded the Hagenbund in 1900) and Josef Auchentaller– a member of the Klimt group and responsible for editing the Secession journal Ver Sacrum from 1900 and 1901.
In addition to the Austrian and German posters, there is a collection of Czech art nouveau posters which are rarely seen outside of Czech museums. Designers like JINDRICH HLAVÍN, JAN KONUPEK, FRANTIŠEK KYSELA incorporated the Art Nouveau and Secession influences while also creating a distinctive typefaces inspired not by the organic Belgian and French art nouveau typefaces, but by Renaissance and medieval woodcuts.
Once again, Swann Galleries has gathered together a fine collection of posters which are sure to set new records in the word of poster collecting. The high prices these posters have been getting over the years not only reflects their rarity but also an ever increasing interest the Secession and art nouveau period.