At their May 20 South Kensington sale next week, Christie's is featuring period posters, with dozens of iconic racing and advertising images. These are not from the age of Jimmy's Photoshopped Corvette Posters--these are serious works of art, some closing in on a century old and priced as such.
Christie's sale is not as comprehensive as l'art et l'automobile's, but it is highly selective, and the images on these posters are more than timeless--they're part of the fabric of car culture. And also, they look incredibly cool. Too bad they'll never hang in any garage of mine. Click through for a gallery of some of the standouts.
There are only a handful of car ads, and they're all spectacular. But I really have no idea what this one means. Doesn't "huile" mean "oil?"
I don't know how rare this is, the second year of the Monaco Grand Prix (which René Dreyfus won in his Bugatti), but given the £6,000-£8,000 ($9,108-$12,144) estimate, I'd say "wicked rare."
If it's a Ferrari 330TR/LM, then that's probably supposed to be Phil Hill or Olivier Gendebien. If you didn't have the €6,875,000 for the car when it sold in 1997, maybe the estimated £600-£800 ($911-$1,214) seems a little better.
I'd guess any F2 poster, even a big, bright Mod one like this, is not a hot ticket.
Georges Hamel was a big name in automobile art for about 50 years. His style evolved with the times, but was always distinctively his own. He was also involved in a very complicated way with Figoni et Falaschi, resulting in the their famous "Geo Ham" bodies, and he raced cars himself.
You can see how his forms are both simpler and stronger, but the line and gesture are essentially unchanged. He was a fully mature artist by 1962.
Completely striking, a perfect Art Deco compliment for a completely Art Deco car.
Of course it would be the all-conquering D-type for LeMans. A nice little desktop for widescreen monitors.
A lovely little drawing in what looks like Conté crayon. Postwar paint rationing, perhaps? Or maybe just an austere illustration for an austere time.
Gachon's illustration for the poster is a little gaudier than Hamel's, which was probably for the program.
I love that Bibendum always had a cigar in his mouth in early advertising. I'm surprised he didn't have a glass of pastis as well.
Pastis, no. Babe, yes. This one gives me the heebie-jeebies a little bit.
And there he is with a friend (did you know they were an entire race of tire-people?), driving, obviously, into the gates of hell, via Van Gogh. "Come with us! We've got smokes and tires!"
Perhaps the greatest single racing image ever produced.
Visible from space.
I've concentrated on the vintage car posters, but there's a lot of other cool transportation-related art in the sale:
'Hard to believe these things were sinkable. If you like ship images, there are quite a few in the sale.
I could do with one of these.
And this one is just for Dan. Behold! The majesty that is Cleveland!
RAGAN, LESLIE (1897-1972) THE NEW UNION TERMINAL, CLEVELAND lithograph in colours, 1930, printed by Latham Litho Co., New York, condition B-; printed on heavy stock paper, not backed 41 x 27in. (104 x 69cm.)