Puerto Rican Poster Archive Leads Sale At Swann

Art Daily
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Arnost Hofbauer, Hana Kvapilova Recitace, 1899. Sold for $8,125, a record for the artist.

NEW YORK, NY.-Swann Galleries’ sale of Vintage Posters on Thursday, February 13 was the house’s most successful February poster offering in over 10 years.

A collection of over 350 Puerto Rican posters, showcasing the best of the island’s graphic artists and designers, led the sale at $37,500. Amassed by a studio assistant of Rafael Trufiño, Lorenzo Homar and José Rosa, “the archive was one of the most items in the sale, representing almost half a century’s worth of graphic design from Puerto Rico and garnering more interest than any other item in the sale,” noted Nicholas D. Lowry, the house’s president and director of vintage posters.

Nine Mucha designs earned spots in the top 20 lots. Highlights included The Flowers, a group of three decorative panels, 1898, which earned $18,200; Cycles Perfecta, 1897, saw $13,750; and Lance Parfum “Rodo”, 1896, brought a record for the poster at $10,000. Arnost Hofbauer proved successful with all three of the artist’s posters on offer achieving records: Hana Kvapilova Recitace, 1899, set the record for the artist at $8,125, while II. Vystava Spolki “Manes” / Topicuv Salon, 1898, and Topicuv Salon, 1898, set records for the posters at $6,750 and $5,750, respectively. Also of note was Georges de Feure’s Le Journal des Ventes, 1898—the image with rare text brought $11,250.

Further records featured Pan-American Exposition / Niagara, 1901, by Evelyn Rumsey Cary, and Chicago / New York Central Lines, 1929, by Leslie Ragan—both won by institutions. Cary’s American Art Nouveau image, based on the artist’s painting Spirit of Niagara, set a record for Cary at $11,250; while Ragan’s first poster for the New York Central Lines earned a record for the image at $8,125.

Additional highlights included Dwight Clark Shepler’s advertisement for skiing in Sun Valley ($10,625); Walter L. Green’s New York Central Line image for travel to Storm King ($7,250); and Aryeh El-Hanani’s The Palestine Exhibition Vienna / XIV Zionist Congress, 1925 ($6,250).

The next auction from the Vintage Posters department at Swann will be Graphic Design on May 7.