1956 David Klein TWA Poster
Appraised Value: $2,500 - $3,500
IMAGE: 1 of 1
Appraisal Video: (3:07)
Prints & Posters
Swann Auction Galleries
GUEST: It was given to me by a friend. He's from the Seattle area, and he was in a little shop, and there was a bunch of rolled-up posters in a bin, and he just liked it, probably paid a few dollars for it, and that's really all I know.
APPRAISER: So you're asking me to appraise a gift.
GUEST: I am.
APPRAISER: So maybe I could cause some friction between you and your friend, depending on how the appraisal goes.
GUEST: Actually he's a very dear friend and a co-worker, and when I was going to bring it, I told him if it was worth much, I'd split it with him. So I'm saying this on camera.
APPRAISER: That actually sounds very fair. Let me tell you what I know about the poster. The obvious thing is, it's advertising TWA flights to New York City. The artist signs his name "David."
APPRAISER: His full name is actually David Klein. And David Klein was a very prolific artist
APPRAISER: Who worked for TWA. This is one of the more recognizable and one of the more popular images that he designed.
APPRAISER: And in my opinion, it is one of the greatest graphic depictions of Times Square. It's a geometric, abstract, almost kaleidoscopic view...
APPRAISER: ...of this great, bustling intersection. He captures all of the energy, he captures all of the excitement, he captures all of the movement. Do you have any idea when the poster is from?
GUEST: I really don't. It looks kind of '60s to me, but...
APPRAISER: It was actually done in 1956. Oh,
GUEST: my Lord!
APPRAISER: It is part silk screen and part photolithograph. The bright colors have been put on
APPRIASER: through a silk-screen process... and everything else has been printed via a lithographic process. One of the other great things about the poster is the plane that's on top. The plane is the TWA Lockheed Constellation, known as the Connie.
APPRAISER: They were considered great airplanes. You see it was a propeller plane. There's the propellers on it. And with these planes, TWA was able to initiate
APPRAISER: full service to Europe. Now, I'm not the only one who likes this poster. The company liked it so much that they continued to reuse it in subsequent years. But there's one way that we can tell that this is the original printing and not a later printing, and that is the airplane itself. Because shortly after 1956, propeller planes were phased out and jet planes were phased in. So subsequent printings of this poster
APPRAISER: ... don't show the detailed Constellation. They show the silhouette of a jet plane actually leaving a vapor trail behind it as it goes across.
GUEST: Oh, my goodness.
APPRIASER: And not only was the company very fond of this poster, but this poster is also in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the MOMA.
APPRAISER: So really the poster has a lot of fans, both corporate and institutional. So it was a gift, and I don't want to cause a rift between you and your friend.
GUEST: You couldn't.
APPRAISER: But at auction, I would estimate this piece between $2,500 and $3,500.
GUEST: (gasps) Oh, my gosh! You're k... Oh, he's going to be so thrilled!
APPRAISER: And we have you on camera saying you would split the price with him.
GUEST: Yes, I told him I would; I told him I'd put it on camera.
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