Many ‘firsts’ are here, including Walt Disney’s first full length film ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, the first Star Wars film and the first James Bond movie’ ‘Dr No’ captured in posters from the time the films were released.
Sotheby’s New Bond Street entrance is closed for several months for a face-lift, so everyone has to troop round the back to its other entrances in George Street where there are several different exhibitions, one on Joaquin Sorolla and his contemporaries, and another – which fills most of the galleries – on 20th century British art and Design, in advance of the auction on the 20th. The third is a fascinating display of graphic design history through the medium of film posters from the era of when the poster was an important as the film itself and often was a work of art in its own right, such as the Art Deco masterpieces of graphic design ’Tom Sawyer’ and ‘Spanjorens Hamnd’, while the poster for the animated Beatles musical ‘The Yellow Submarine’ is a wonderful piece of 1960′s pop art.
For drama, it is hard to beat the dramatic image of the key which slashes across the poster like a dagger in the 1932 poster of the Swedish film ‘Spanjorens Hamnd’ inspired by Bizet’s ‘Carmen’, or the minimalist shapes of the body in Otto Preminger’s ‘Anatomy of a Murder, or the shadow of the dagger in ‘Les Enchantes’, the French adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s film ‘Notorious’.
Many of the posters show well-known names from another era as in ‘Alta Societa’, the Italian adaptation of ‘High Society’, though you do worry when the star is more important than the film as with Douglas Fairbanks in ‘Gaucho’ – does anyone remember it today?
The posters of a wide range of well-known films in editions for different countries, where the tweaks to the imagery itself is fascinating, are for sale through Sotheby’s on-line auction.