By design an ephemeral glimpse of the new and novel, it could be argued that the poster as an art form and means of communication kickstarted modern advertising. Seeing a rise to prominence thanks to lithographer Jules Chéret, whose invention of the three-stone lithograph process allowed for complex and colourful pieces saw him regarded as the “father of the modern poster”, the travel poster presided as snapshot impressions of a boom in personal travel and globalisation.
At odds with the artistry involved, they were printed on the cheapest paper with a life expectancy of mere months. Such inbuilt fragility makes examples in good condition today a rarity.
Featuring posters by some 150 artists, Swann Galleries, noted auction house of papers and manuscripts in New York, hosts its Rare & important Travel Posters sale on 27 October, preceded by four days of exhibition at its 104 East 25th Street space.