Vintage tourism posters up for auction
Several Bermudian cultural treasures will be auctioned off at an exclusive New York art gallery next week.
Eleven Bermuda tourism posters are expected to fetch thousands of dollars at Swann Auction Galleries. Some are by noted artists such as Adolf Treidler and depict cruise liners, Island locales and visitors enjoying Bermuda life.
I come across Bermuda posters fairly frequently, said Nicholas Lowry, director of the gallerys poster department. They are not excruciatingly rare but some are rarer than others. It is unusual to have this many Bermuda posters at once. Eleven is a lot. They came from different consignors.
Only two or three are from the same person. They were created by different media. Some are lithographs and some are silk screens. The silk screens are more fragile and more rare. The most famous artist was Adolph Treidler who painted lot number 188. It is one of his which is a silk screen. It is large, 61in wide and 4ft high. It is estimated to fetch $2,000 to $3,000 at auction. It was commissioned for the Furness shipping line. It features the companys beautiful vessels against a tropical Bermudian background.
Mr Lowry has been working with vintage posters since 1997. It is an area that he fell into and enjoys.
You learn a little bit every day, he said. It is not something I have sat down and taught myself.
He said some ill-informed people immediately think of dorm rooms, or tacky celebrity pin-ups when they think of posters, but it is a niche that his company takes very seriously.
As a collectable, posters are becoming more and more respected, he said. Some vintage posters range from a few hundred dollars to $250,000 or more at auction. Several movie posters have recently topped the $500,000 mark. Within the realm of vintage advertising, one of artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrecs rarest pieces went for $300,000.
Mr Lowry said he has been to Bermuda twice, once coming on a cruise ship to give a speech on vintage Bermuda posters. The posters now being auctioned were specifically commissioned by and for travel companies, mostly for cruise lines and the Bermuda Chamber of Commerce. He expected they would generate a lot of interest, particularly from Bermudians, or people who honeymooned in Bermuda, or maybe people who lived on the Island for a time.
Bermuda poster sales tend to go in unrecognisable cycles, said Mr Lowry. They were doing well for awhile. Then they suddenly plummeted in value, and didnt sell for as much as they had. Then one auction about two years ago, a Bermuda poster brought a crazy price, four times what they were estimated to sell at. It has to do with who is interested.
There are great images of Hamilton, and images of pink sand and Bermuda shorts. There is a lovely image of a couple on bikes and a moonlit night. These are lovely, romantic and evocative images. It will be exciting. Keep in mind there are also 530 other non-Bermuda-related posters in the auction. Some topics, for example would be First World War, Chinese military posters, travel posters from other locations, just to start with. There is a lot of diverse excitement.
For people interested in bidding on the posters, there are three ways to participate. The catalogue is online at SwannGalleries.com. Interested parties can also call the gallery to bid via telephone 212-254-4710. They can also leave a bid on their behalf up to a particular amount. People can also participate live via the Internet using a third party platform called www.artfact.com. To use this system people must register in advance. If you happen to be in New York City, the address is 104 East 25th Street.
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