A leading collection of pre-second world war movie, advertising and political posters, which belonged to eminent collector Hans Sachs before they were looted by the Nazi party in 1938, sold over three days (January 18-20) in New York - bringing fantastic results.
An uncensored exhibition poster advertising the work of the Vienna Secession art movement, designed in 1898 by Austrian symbolist painter and Secession president, Gustav Klimt (1862-1918), topped the highly anticipated sale, bringing $47,500 - 56.7% up on its $30,000 presale valuation. A censored version of the poster also sold, achieving $18,000 within a $15,000-20,000 estimate.
The Vienna Secession was founded by a prominent group of Austrian artists in 1897. Klimt became its first president in the same year, earning considerable praise from his contemporaries for seeking to explore artistic possibilities outside the confines of a then rigid academic tradition. The group's mantra - "To every age its art. To art its freedom." - clearly resonated on the evening of the sale.
The extensive poster collection was stolen from German Jew Hans Sachs in 1938. Nazi propaganda minister, Joseph Goebbels, informed Sachs that the posters were to be used as part of a museum exhibit.
Sachs, who was resident in Germany during the Nazi's rise to power, was subsequently arrested on November 9, 1938, during the Gestapo-co-ordinated pogrom of violence against Jewish citizens, which is now known as Kristallnacht, or the night of broken glass.
Taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp, Sachs' wife secured his freedom soon after and the pair escaped to the US. Having accepted financial compensation for the posters in 1961, Sachs died in 1974 believing his collection had been destroyed. Around 3,600 posters from the original 12,500 piece collection were returned to his son by the Deutsches Historisches Museum last year.
For more from the world's art auctions, sign up for our free weekly newsletter.