1937 Jean Carlu Paris Exposition Poster
Appraised Value: $2,500 - $3,500
IMAGE: 1 of 2
Appraisal Video: (2:50)
Prints & Posters
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: It's a poster that I was given by a friend of mine. I guess he didn't want to carry it around anymore, so I inherited it. And I know it's a Jean Carlu 1937 National Exposition poster. And I've never seen one quite so big. I've been looking on the Internet for a while, and never seen a bigger version of it.
APPRAISER: First of all, let me say you have nice friends who give you certainly such eye-catching presents.
GUEST: Yeah, it's a great thing.
APPRAISER: And I think for starters this poster certainly lends a new meaning to the term eye-catching. And I don't think it's a coincidence that the artist chose to depict an eye. You do know that the artist is Jean Carlu. It is signed at the bottom. Carlu was one of the most famous Art Deco graphic designers working in France in the 1920s and 1930s. But there is one very interesting fact about him that a lot of people don't know. He only had one arm.
GUEST: One arm?
APPRAISER: And he was working in France on this big exhibition, and then in 1939 he went to New York to work on the French Pavilion at the New York World's Fair.
APPRAISER: While he was in New York, war broke out, and he ended up staying in New York, and he actually designed some posters in America. Now, this exhibition was basically a world's fair. And the exhibition was famous and important for several reasons. At the Spanish Pavilion they actually displayed Picasso's painting Guernica. Now, keep in mind this was going on concurrently with the Spanish Civil War.
APPRAISER: Also it was very politically charged because the Germans and the Russians each had a pavilion, so politically there was a lot of tension between the German government and the Russian government. And you can see all the different flags of the world depicted here, including the Russian flag, and closest to you, the German flag. Of course, the swastika has very many negative connotations, and oftentimes when trying to sell art that depicts the swastika, that can have a negative impact on the piece's value. Now, as far as the value of the piece goes, you said you know of one in a different size?
GUEST: Yeah, I've seen... on the Internet I've seen ten-inch by eight-inch posters that go for around $800. So I've never seen anything quite this large, so...
APPRAISER: You know, in fact this is the largest of three different sizes. The one you saw is the smallest size.
APPRAISER: There is an intermediate size, and then there is this, the largest format.
APPRAISER: It's also interesting to note that the posters exist in different languages. Now, this poster is so large, it's actually very hard to display.
APPRAISER: You yourself said you'd never actually seen it hanging, because it's too big. But at auction, I would estimate the value of the poster at between $2,500 and $3,500.
APPRAISER: So all told, I think, a really generous gift from a friend. Very.
GUEST: Very much so, yeah.
APPRAISER: But a great poster, too.
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