Tag Archive | Royal College of Art

Art On Show: Vintage Exhibition Posters

pa0766_1_mColourful, dynamic and often featuring artwork by notable artists of the period, these exhibition posters from around the world were issued to promote the work of an artist, style or art form, venue or cultural event.

Their eye catching designs used to attract visitors to the exhibition at the time are now ideal for decorating at home and in the office and make excellent presents for historians, art lovers and collectors.

pa0321_1_m  pa1236_1_m

pa0712_1_m  pa0711_1_m

pa1322_1_m  pw0268_1_m

pw0284_1_m  pa1069_1_m

pa0851_1_m  pa1410_1_m

pa0488_1_m  pa1416_1_m

pa1320_1_m  pa0888_1_m

pa0597_1_m  pp0570_1_m

pt1396_1_m  pa0241_1_m

pa1228_1_m  pa1217_1_m

pa1153_1_m  pa1157_1_m

pa1152_1_m  pa1102_1_m

pa1107_1_m  pa1181_1_m

pa1155_1_m  pa1380_1_m

pa1356_1_m  pa1346_1_m

pa1386_1_m  pa1385_1_m

pa0912_1_m  pa0946_1_m

pa1001_1_m  pa0504_1_m

pa1304_1_m  pa1175_1_m

pa0748_1_m  pa0503_1_m

pa1390_1_m  pa1388_1_m

pa1326_1_m  pa1108_1_m

pa1234_1_m  pa1286_1_m

pa1083_1_m  pa1389_1_m

pa0602_1_m  pa1392_1_m

pa1298_1_m  pa1348_1_m


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AntikBar is a Member of the International Vintage Poster Dealers’ Association (IVPDA), the London Art Deco Society (LADS) and The Association of Art and Antiques Dealers (LAPADA).




Posters, Loud and Clear

This article by AntikBar was first featured in the Art, Antiques and Luxury Design Blog:

Philips Autoradio 1950s


My Russian grandmother used to say: You say a word you loose a piece of your mind.  These days we do talk a lot not only by verbal but also by written means. The power of  the word is dwindling and becoming diluted but there used to be a world without the television and social media.  The only way to get a message across was by displaying it on the walls.  The only way of communicating the message to a wide audience at that time was the poster.

Posters used to be quite dull using mostly words, before French artists elevated them to an art form at the end of  the 19th century.  I believe it was initially a way for them to make extra money and then, as the artists got the flavour for this medium, their works became an art in itself.  Posters present the artist with a challenge of distilling an idea, product or message in one striking image that will grab the attention of passers-by.  The artist is  restricted by the size of the poster sheet and can only use a limited amount of words, so the visual has to be strong.  The art of cabaret by Toulouse Lautrec and the elegance of art nouveau by Mucha really drew attention to posters. Collectors and other talented artists followed suit.


As posters developed they absorbed and distilled styles of the era and form a major part of our social history.  Given they were not meant to be kept it is a miracle that any survived at all.  Designed to be plastered on walls and removed or overlayed with another poster, they were often printed on thin paper and easily deteriorated.  The ones that survived are mostly left-over stock from print shops, treasured collections of early enthusiasts or souvenirs from people involved in the trade.

In Great Britain poster art bloomed at a later stage, in part due to snobbism of the art elite and the critics’ belief that it is below the true standards of an artist to be involved in something as vulgar as advertising.  But the new generation of designers led by the Beggarstaff Brothers (William Nicholson and James Pryde), as well as growing popularity of this art form changed this perception and the British poster evolved.  Some of the most iconic designs were created in Britain to advertise the London Underground and educate masses during the WWII.


At the same time the Bolshevist Revolution happened in Russia and a newly born Socialist Government needed to convey its message urgently to a largely illiterate population.  Posters became an ideal medium for communicating to the masses.  It was an exciting time for the artists in Russia – censorship was largely abolished (as long as the Government was  still supported) and the idea of a State built for the people really electrified the creative minds.  A new art movement – constructivism was born with the belief that artistic talent should be only applied to creating useful things – architecture, furniture and, of course, posters. Some of the most striking designs were created during this period. Posters of the most prominent artists from this art school – A. Rodchenko, L. Lissitsky and the Stenberg Brothers fetch high prices when they turn up at auctions.

Speaking of money – where and on what should you focus if you decide to collect or invest in posters?  As with any art, you should buy what you like so you can appreciate the design and reap emotional dividends from the piece of art that you see hanging on your wall every day.  Certain poster themes have been steadily appreciating over the last few years – skiing, for example, especially those promoting the most popular resorts in Switzerland and France; cult films, James Bond and early cinema classics have also been on the rise recently.  Other areas to watch are WWII posters,  and mid-century design pieces.



Sadly the art of the poster is now becoming extinct.  Television and the digital revolution are  largely replacing this media with animated and interactive ads.  There are still a few talented artists around but commissions are sparse and most of them work purely out of love for this media and the subject of their design.  Keep an eye on artists like Craig Drake who designs alternative film posters for classic films and Mark Fairhurst who designs great sport posters.  I hope that art schools will get on the bandwagon and, at the very least, start commissioning posters for their events like this one made for 1928 Exhibition at the Royal College of Art.


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