Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Confetti poster has topped a major art nouveau prints sale in New York.
The 1894 work sold for $35,000 at Swann Auction Galleries on January 26.
Lautrec created the work for a pair of poster collectors
“One would hardly think that an artist of Toulouse-Lautrec's stature and wealth would normally apply his talents to advertise a product as routine as confetti," said the auction house.
“The explanation is that the British brothers who owned this company were poster collectors themselves, and even organized poster exhibitions at the Royal Aquarium, London, in 1894 and 1896, to which they invited Lautrec."
Prints offer a relatively affordable option for Lautrec fans to own a piece of his work. His auction record stands at $22.4m, set by early painting La blanchisseuse in 2005.
Much of the present sale was devoted to prints by Alphonse Mucha. The leading example was a circa 1899 advert for Bleuze – Hadancourt Perfumeur perfume.
Valued at $15,000-20,000, it sold for $27,500 – its rarity being a key factor in the strong price.
“This poster represents a new approach by Mucha in laying out his posters using more of the white of the paper to form decorative elements," said Swann.
Only five examples of this Mucha poster have sold since 1991
“Here, he adds the elements of the plumes of wafting perfume and the branches of the flowering tree for an extra layer of depth.
“We could find only five other copies at auction since 1991.”
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