Northern Pacific Railway Poster, ca. 1935

Value (2010) | $2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction

I know that it's Emigrant Peak in Paradise Valley, and it's obviously a Northern Pacific travel poster, and it, I think, helps advertise the gateway to Yellowstone Park.

And how did you acquire it?

My father gave me this. It was a gift. I'm from New York City, so when I see a majestic image of the Montana Rockies like this, it really stirs something in me.

But for you, this is sort of an everyday view, isn't it?

It's my backyard. It's beautiful, but it's very familiar to me, yes.

It was done for the Northern Pacific Railroad, and it was done early in the 1930s. We don't actually know the specific date, but around 1930 or 1932. We also know the artist, whose name was Gustav Krollmann. He was a very prominent artist who worked for the railroad, but there's very little known about him biographically. We know that he was of Austrian descent.


We know that he ended up living in Minneapolis, and that he taught art at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. But other than that, we don't know a lot about him. But in the course of his work, we know that he created at least five posters for the Northern Pacific Railroad, three of which were Montana-specific.


There was this one, which is as Montana-specific as you could hope to get. There's another one that says "North Coast Limited," and then there's another one that says "the Mission Range." Each one of the posters is a painting that he painted, beautifully rendering the landscape in the sort of summery pastel blues and greens and lavenders.

It is beautiful.

And each one of the images that he did for the Montana countryside also very prominently features one of the Northern Pacific Railroad's locomotives. These were posters meant to sell tickets on the railroad. They were printed in St. Paul, Minnesota. They were distributed across the railroad line, so it's possible that somebody in Chicago or New York or anywhere else in the country would have seen this image and said, "Wow! Montana really is beautiful. "I could ride the train and I could see this great countryside." They're very popular posters. These pieces have been going higher and higher in price of late as American travel posters come into their own. If this piece were in an auction, I would suggest an estimated value between $2,000 and $3,000.

Really? Unframed? As it is?

Unframed, unlined. You'll notice this poster hasn't been mounted. And you'll also notice there's all these little ripples in the paper.

I did see that. What is that?

That is just the paper that they use. It's almost like a wallpaper. So, conditionwise, this is what we technically refer to as "pretty darn good."

That's excellent.

Appraisal Details

Swann Auction Galleries
New York, NY
Appraised value (2010)
$2,000 Auction$3,000 Auction
Billings, MT (June 26, 2010)
20th Century

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