Art Nouveau Posters

Value (2007) | $20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction

GUEST:
This one has hung in my bedroom for the last almost 20 years. I bought her in 1988 in New York City. It's an Italian poster, actually, because it's printed by Ricardi, I think. And the other one I've had since '91, and I bought her at an auction. And I just love both of them, and I'd like to know, you know, whether I made a good investment, because I did give quite a bit of money for them at that time.

APPRAISER:
Well, tell me what you paid for them.

GUEST:
Well, I gave $3,400 for this one in 1988, which was a lot of money. And that one was $3,000 in '91.

APPRAISER:
Now, the artist of that poster is an Italian gentleman by the name of Leopoldo Metlicovitz, one of the masters of the Italian Art Nouveau, the Secession or the Liberty style. A great Art Nouveau concept, obviously a very beautiful woman, a very seductive image, rather becoming. I know I am attracted to it; I think I can understand why you are. This image here, a little bit earlier. This is 1896 by a Belgian artist named Privat Livemont, who's considered one of the greatest of the Belgian Art Nouveau graphic designers.

GUEST:
He's Belgian? Oh.

APPRAISER:
Belgian. And you want to know whether you made a good investment.

GUEST:
Yeah.

APPRAISER:
Don't you know the old mantra, "Never buy art as an investment"? Only buy what you like; that way you can't lose.

GUEST:
Well, I bought what I like because I loved them and I didn't really care how much they were.

APPRAISER:
Buying what you like is important. It always makes you feel good, and obviously you have very exquisite taste. There's another saying that goes, "Spend money to make money." Now, when you bought them, you paid top dollar for them.

GUEST:
I did. I knew that.

APPRAISER:
But I think you made a good investment, and here's why. The piece close to you, the Metlicovitz, currently, at auction, you could sell this poster for between $8,000 and $12,000.

GUEST:
Ooh... okay.

APPRAISER:
So it could be as much as a 300% return on your money. Now, on this poster here, you said you bought for $3,000 in 1991. And this poster really is the epitome of Belgian Art Nouveau. It's actually an iconic poster. It's advertising absinthe-- a mysterious drink, the green fairy-- and here's a woman holding up a glass of absinthe as if praying to it. And the fantastic details in the back, the floating smoke, the absinthe swirling in the glass, the woman's very stylized Art Nouveau hair-- these are all classic elements of a great poster. Currently, at auction, you could sell this poster for between $12,000 and $18,000.

GUEST:
At auction? Oh, wow.

APPRAISER:
And I've examined the condition of this poster, and it's in absolutely perfect condition, which helps me feel encouraged that you'd be able to achieve closer to the higher end of that mark.

GUEST:
Wow! So I probably should insure them.

APPRAISER:
You should insure this one for $18,000 and you should insure that one for $12,000. They're fabulous pieces.

GUEST:
Yes.

APPRAISER:
You know, a 300% or 400% return is pretty good.

GUEST:
It's not bad.

APPRAISER:
I've been investing a lot of money in blackjack this week with very opposite returns.

(laughs)

Appraisal Details

Appraiser
Swann Auction Galleries
New York, New York
Appraised value (2007)
$20,000 Auction$30,000 Auction
Event
Las Vegas, NV (August 18, 2007)
Period
Art Nouveau
Material
Paper

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