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Vintage European Posters plans sale in Santa Monica

November 2, 2011 |  9:22 am

Vintage French poster
Few things proclaim one's weakness for midcentury modern design as succinctly as a vintage furniture poster. (I should know: I bought one illustrating classic Danish chairs as a souvenir from a trip to Copenhagen.) Finding such works of advertising art, however, can be a bit of a treasure hunt -- a hunt made easier with the "trunk show" held in November every year by Berkeley-based Vintage European Posters. This year Vintage European Posters' trunk sale is Nov. 12 and 13 at Loews Santa Monica Beach Hotel. Admission is free.

The company, which specializes in product, exhibition and travel posters from 1880 to 1970 (with a few late 20th century pieces) sells its wares online but also participates in shows such as Dwell on Design. The selection includes the anonymously designed "Ameublement" ("Furnishings"), above, printed in France around 1965. It is a linen-backed period original, not a contemporary reproduction, available for $1,650 -- on the high side of the company's authentic offerings, which start as low as $220.

Vintage wine posterOther finds: Graphic prints designed for the General Dynamics corporation by Erik Nitsche in 1955 with text in multiple languages, and a stash of mid-1960s posters celebrating the Golden State, including the Amado Gonzalez design at right, $325.

You'll also find a stash of United Airlines and TWA travel posters and, of course, a multitude of French posters advertising soap, soda pop and more. For those who like a message, Vintage European Posters also offers striking patriotic designs from the two world wars.

The artwork varies from straightforward illustration to gentle surrealism. Owner Elizabeth Norris travels across the U.S. and throughout Europe to find her stock and is frequently approached by collectors. Recently, she wrote in an email, she acquired dozens of midcentury travel posters and nearly 200 World War II advertisements for volunteerism. Norris, who will be on hand at the trunk show, added,  "I have been collecting since I was young and love meeting other people who want to geek out on the history of graphic design."

Keep reading to see more posters ...

Orangina poster
A Bernard Villemot illustration for Orangina soda was printed in 1981. Price: $325.


Vintage travel posters
Artist Stan Galli created the United Airlines poster, left, celebrating California missions around 1965. It sells for $600. David Klein's jazzy homage to Las Vegas, right, was printed around the same time and is $1,800.


Vintage victory garden poster
Printed in 1943 as part of the U.S. war effort, this design by an unknown artist may strike a chord with an urban farmer. It sells for $480.


Chabeso Cola poster General Dynamics poster















The German poster for Chabeso-Cola, left, was created by an unknown artist circa 1950. Price: $1,100. "Nucleodynamics" by Erik Nitsche, right, was printed in Switzerland in 1955. Price: $1,800.


A new age for affordable art

Photo gallery: modern posters

Handmade posters enjoy a renaissance

-- David A. Keeps

Image credits: Vintage European Posters