A true pleasure to own, vintage posters have been one of the most stable poster categories for years. Sought after by poster collectors since the late 1800s, vintage posters have grown in popularity throughout the years, bringing large number of loyal fans and dedicated collectors who adore this distinctive form of poster art.
Vintage posters are simply antique posters, most of which are more than a hundred years old. Vintage posters lovers can purchase their favorite vintage poster for a price that goes from approximately $50 to more than $10,000. Indeed, the price range for vintage posters is as wide as the number of vintage posters currently offered. Well-regarded all over the world, vintage posters please discerning collectors and connoisseurs alike, besides doing a great job beautifying your home, office or special place.
It is important to understand that no vintage poster – whether a stone lithograph, or offset lithograph – is the actual ‘original painting or goauche’ that the image is taken from but a sort of ‘route’ to produce a reproduction of the original image in quantity. In fact, what sets the value is not the technique that was used but the demand for the piece. Typically, diverse factors determine the demand for a particular piece of art, for example the artist, image, place, product, rarity, condition, etc.
Vintage posters: how it all began
Although by the end of the 1890s there were already dozens of retail outlets for posters in Pari , France, the generalized passion for this old artform really took off in 1963, when some workmen assigned to the renovation of a literary journal in Paris found hundreds of Toulouse-Lautrec posters rolled up under the floorboards. As hard to believe as it may sound, those prints that were in the best condition could be bought for just a few hundred dollars. More importantly, until that moment, large numbers of people who had never thought of buying art found the product and the price simply irresistible. Today, most of these posters sell for no less than $25,000.
Through time, as demand increased, their prices continued to go up. As an example, in 1989, Toulouse-Lautrec’s 3-sheet Moulin Rouge poster sold for $220,000, at the time the highest price ever paid for a fine art poster at auction.
During the 1970s, the market for advertising prints mainly focused on French artists such as Jules Cheret, Toulouse-Lautrec, and Alphonse Mucha. Their prints, as well as those from Art Deco’s famous poster designers such as Cassandre and Fix-Masseau were the ones that usually brought the highest prices. Needless to say, vintage posters and art posters were greatly related during this period. These artists considered the advertising poster as the best way to exhibit their talents to the wide public, without compromising their artistic sensibilities.
Maturing of the market for vintage posters
During the rest of the 1900s up until present, the antique art market has significantly developed and matured. Prestigious museums throughout the world, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Louvre in Paris, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington D.C., and the Art Institute of Chicago exhibit vintage posters habitually and have them in their permanent collections.
Swiss, French, German, British, Dutch, Italian, and Russian prints have built room for a specialty poster market. Italian vintage posters feature the greatest masterpieces from major art movements such as Art Noveau and Art Deco. The most common subjects comprise propaganda, opera, and fashion, among others. Swiss posters between 1905 and 1955 are especially popular, featuring great images of skiing, sport, travel, fashion, and all kinds of products. Soviet vintage posters are also in great demand, particularly those that feature original masterpieces of the Bolshevik Revolution, the New Economic Policy of the 20’s, the Five Year Plans, up thru the Space Age and Perestroika in the 1980s. There appears to be an antique poster to fit everybody’s tastes and preferences.
Different categories of vintage prints
In addition, the market has seen an important rise for vintage art category niches such as travel, movies, war, propaganda, sci-fi, and sports, among others. Vintage posters for travel usually depict airlines, ocean liners, hotels and other fascinating images from the great age of travel which extended from 1990 to 1940 approximately. War and propaganda art from all around the world are another sub category that has a very loyal market, the same as vintage American World War I and World War II posters. Food and beverage prints include immaculate artistic images of wine, champagne, aperitifs, cheese, pasta, etc. Sports prints feature excellent images of various sports such as golf, tennis, skiing, auto, cycle racing, basketball, and of course the Olympics.
As mentioned earlier, in terms of pictorial style vintage posters typically feature Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and Modern and Contemporary. When we talk about artists, among the most popular ones we can name vintage posters of Jules Chéret, Alphonse Mucha, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard, Beardsley, Parrish, Pal, Grun, Loupot , Grasset, Penfield, Steinlen, Marc Chagall, Leonetto Cappiello, Marcello Dudovitch, Gino Boccasile, Newbould, Morell, Baumberger, Roger Broders, Rene Gruau, Razzia, Bernard Villemot, Cassandre, and Warthol and Savignac.
Vintage art in the United States
In the United States , the last 15 years have especially seen a renaissance in antique print collecting, and this trend seems to be here to stay. In fact, the number of art auctions annually conducted in America increased from two in 1990 to at least eight in 2002. A promising rise, as vintage poster art more and more appeals to a greater audience that includes art experts and connoisseurs, and also the normal man and woman who just enjoys artistic images and advertising art. American leading vintage poster shows are held annually in Chicago , Los Angeles , New York , and San Francisco .
If you are among that large number of vintage posters lovers that is getting bigger by the minute, check out our extensive collection of quality vintage art from all around the world. Check back with us often, as new information on vintage posters is continuously added to this website.