This month, an incredible collection of vintage posters sold over three sessions (January 18-20). The vintage poster collection, which comprised outstanding film, advertising, political and exhibition posters, had been compiled by Berlin-bred Jew Hans Sachs (1881-1974) – the founder and president of Verein der Plakatfreunde, an organisation devoted to the art of the poster that sought to generate recognition of the genre as a legitimate artistic form.
Sach’s fragile, extensive archive was stolen from him in 1938, when Joseph Goebbels, then-propaganda minster for the Nazi government, issued an order to remove the posters from his home, claiming that they were to be displayed as part of an important exhibition.
Sachs, who was resident in Germany throughout the Nazi’s rise to power, was subsequently arrested on November 9, 1938 and sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Sach’s wife managed to secure his freedom and the pair escaped to the US, believing that the posters had been destroyed.
In March 2012, after a lengthy legal battle, the German Federal Court ruled that the posters be returned to Hans’ son Peter Sachs .
Sach’s collection crossed the block at Guernsey’s Auctioneers and Brokers this month, bringing fantastic results.
An uncensored exhibition poster advertising the work of the Vienna Secession, designed in 1893 by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), topped the sale, achieving $47,500 – a 56.7% increase on its pre-sale estimate.
The Vienna Secession was founded by a prominent group of Austrian artists in 1897. The group’s mantra, “To every age its art. To art its freedom”, must have resonated very clearly on the day.