French Lithograph Poster, ca. 1910
I brought a poster that I discovered in Menlo Park because I was looking for something to fill a rather large wall in my home, and I've been looking for about three to four years, and I saw it in a window, and I knew I had to run in and check it out and find out what it was about because it really caught my eye and drew me into the store.
Well, I think you got a very nice piece. It's a French color lithograph poster, printed in Paris about 1910. It's for a champagne liqueur, which was a popular kind of drink in that period. Great color. It doesn't have the artist's name, which is a little negative, but in posters, the key thing is the image. So if it's a boring image by a good artist, nobody cares. This is a lovely image by an unknown artist. That's fine. It's got the tax stamp up here. Some people get all excited about that, but what it basically means is the publisher or printer paid to have it put up. It doesn't make it authentic; it means they paid for the tax on hanging them. Sometimes, if a poster's never left the factory, it doesn't have the tax stamp. It's still neat to have it. She's got great color. I love her costume. They're color lithographs, which is a technique that was invented in the 1790s by Alois Senefelder, but it expanded greatly over the next hundred years. By the time you get to this period, they're printing in, like, six or seven colors for a poster like this, each one drawn on a big piece of Bavarian limestone.
How long would it take them to produce it?
It may be printed by multiple artists who'd be working on multiple stones over probably a month or so. Condition-wise, it does have a little bit of tearing over here, but that's not too big a deal on a four-by-five-foot poster. The key thing is color-- bright, rich colors. You can't fix that. You can fix a tear, you can't fix the colors if they go away. May I ask what you paid for it?
I paid $1,200.
I think you got a very nice deal. A retail price for this would be around $3,500 or $4,000.
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