Mar/Apr 2020 edition
Issue #9 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
The Artistic Challenge of Framing a Vintage Poster
Before we begin, I must point out that the three framed posters, in this article, are part of my personal collection, and are NOT for sale. “Cap d’Antibes” is probably my all-time favorite, and is from the 1930s. If ever available one of these would usually be in the $25-$30K range. I’ve only seen two others. “Automobiles Richard Brasier”, celebrating the car’s win of the Gordon Bennet trophy, is also incredibly rare, and is just one of two I’ve ever seen - this fine example and one awful example. The current value is likely $30-40K. Lastly, “Circuito di Milano” is usually found in a 2-sheet version, and in the past few years one sold at auction for about $65K.
Again, these are not for sale, but I am using them as excellent examples to illustrate the challenges of properly and artistically framing. When you have any piece in this value range, you would be doing a great disservice to the art if not properly framed.
Having acquired a fine poster, the next step is to have it framed for display. The following thoughts, and photos, show a variety of approaches that I have taken in the past few years.
I am focused on the look and colors of the poster, and take into consideration internal elements that I wish to enhance and/or call attention to. The first step is in finding a fine art framer who is experienced in archival framing techniques. UV treated acrylic is the way to go for modest to large pieces, and all the materials used need to be acid-free. Direct sun is to be avoided at all costs, and try to be cognizant about how much light the poster will be exposed to.
These 3 framings, tend to work with the colors within the poster, to create a coherent look, which is what you want. The art itself should be the primary focus of what needs to be paid attention to.
Another approach is using mat board, which generally has color on top and white inner layer. One can have this straight cut, a bevel edge to show the white, or a reverse bevel to hide it. In all cases, I chose to mat to the edge of the poster (two examples below).
Lastly, one may decide to by-pass a mat and pick a frame that works well with the colors, design, and style of the poster (five examples below).
Fine frames are not cheap, and prices are all over the place. What you see in these photos range from about $300-$800, depending upon size, mat, and framing chosen. Clearly, a fine poster deserves to be conserved/preserved in the proper manner. The exercise should be one where creativity will enhance the presentation, adding to your ownership pleasure.
May/June 2019 edition
Issue #5 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
The movement known as “Art Deco” was a shortened name version of the planned exhibition “Arts Decoratifs”, which was held in Paris in 1925. This was a deliberate shift away from Art Nouveau, with its flowing and undulating style, lasting from about 1920 until the mid-late 1930s.
Art Deco was directly influenced by some of the prior painting movements of Cubism with its geometric forms, and Fauvism and its bright colors. Generally, the look was simpler, more precise, less embellished, and more linear.
“Pierce Arrow” by Robert Lewis is a stellar example, done in 1929, with strong graphics and metallic silver ink. “Grand Prix Suisse”, by Graf, is a world-renowned image, and was chosen for the cover of the book on the event. Two fine designs, by Kow, convey power with color: “Cap d’Antibes” and “Hotchkiss”.
Mar/Apr 2019 edition
Issue #4 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
The one consistent line of questioning from both seasoned collectors, and the new purchaser is: preservation of the poster.
The assumption is that a poster under consideration is “collectible”, having a good market value, and worthy of the investment of proper conservation techniques and possible framing.
The aim of preservation of the poster is to retain its authenticity as well as condition and color in the best manner consistent with current archival practices established and practiced world-wide. That “standard” is professional archival linen mounting. This method uses a water-based adhesive to affix the poster to acid free paper, which has already been like-wise affixed to linen. This should only be done by an expert in the field. It is a readily reversible process, but why one would wish to do this eludes me.
Jan/Feb 2019 edition
Issue #3 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Nov/Dec 2018 edition
Sept/Oct 2018 edition
Issue #1 AutoMobilia Resource Magazine
Originality and authenticity is the over-riding issue. On the topic of what to look for, the answer is simple: chose a visually exciting image that appeals to you and one you’d want to see again and again. No matter how valuable the market deems a poster to be, if it doesn’t excite your eye, what is the point ? As in the car world “buy what you love”. What works for each collector is different; the “focus” may be your favorite car, races you attended, your birth year, brand loyalty, etc.
The second poster, the 1950’s Porsche Factory Mille Miglia commemorative, by the graphic design genius, Erich Strenger, is printed in offset lithography for the base colors, along with letterpress imprint in black. This poster measures 23” x 33”. Both pieces have stood the test of time and today represent exceptional examples of dynamic art, design, and printing.
Whether for your den, office, home, or garage environment, the authentic vintage poster is a beautiful source of visual enjoyment, as well as a fine investment. What an artistic way to display our automotive passion!
Everett Anton Singer
Any questions, comments, etc ?
Vintage Auto Posters
Tony Singer, the owner of Vintage Auto Posters and Automobilia Monterey International Expo writes about finding, preserving and collecting Vintage Auto Posters.