They are just the thing to decorate a lodge in one of Switzerland’s most exclusive resorts, but they don’t come cheap.
The January 18 sale of original winter sports posters, assembled by former Christie’s specialists Nicolette Tomkinson and Sophie Churcher for Lyon & Turnbull (25% buyer’s premium) included a classic design by Swiss graphic artist Alex Walter Diggelmann (1902-87) depicting a party on a gondola lift – a new addition to the landscape when the poster was printed in 1938.
The first ski school in Gstaad opened in 1923 with the first ski lifts following in 1934-44. Examples of this poster have sold beyond £15,000 in the past but, at a time when the market is tricky at the top end, this one got away at its low estimate of £10,000.
Equally celebrated are the designs created by French illustrator Roger Broders (1883-1953) for the fashionable beaches of the Cote d’Azur and the slopes of the Alps. Distinctive for their simple lines and bold, flat areas of colour, many were commissioned by the Paris Lyon Mediterranée (PLM) railway.
There were three in the sale including Sports D’Hiver depicting stylised figures in colourful attire disembarking from a rail carriage at the Col de Voza on the Mont Blanc massif. It was expected to sell for £6000-8000 but was allowed to get away below hopes at £5000.
Striking images by two, as yet, unknown artists carried guides of £3000-5000 each. One of the gems of Norwegian poster art is an English version of Winter in Norway (L’Hiver en Norvège), an Art Deco rendering of two skiers on a sunlit mountain top. One stands and waits while another ties his shoelaces. It has the signature Schenk that, thus far, is a mystery for poster collectors.
Signed simply HR, a poster issued in 1922 by the Swiss Federal Railways advertised the ski resorts of Sainte Croix and Les Rasses. It shows a stylishly dressed young woman on skis standing on the edge of a slope with the monochrome blue sky behind.
These sold for £3000 and £4800 respectively.