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Exhibition celebrates 25 years of expanding the collecting field at International Poster Gallery
Mexico Olympics by Lance Wyman, 1968. A poster featuring the iconic logo for the 1968 Mexican Olympic Games.

BOSTON, MASS.- “Winning Posters!”, a new exhibition May 10 – June 21, 2019 celebrates the 25th anniversary of International Poster Gallery, one of the world’s leading vintage poster galleries. The exhibition includes a selection of fifty posters that represent the gallery’s diverse specialties. IPG is located in SoWa, Boston’s art and design district, at 460C Harrison Avenue, Suite C20. “Winning Posters!” is free and open to the public.

Jim Lapides, founder and president of IPG is today internationally-known as a pioneer in the poster collecting field. Lapides has brought to light a vast array of vintage poster design from numerous countries through talks, research, publications, a content-rich expansive website and gallery and museum shows.

While expanding the poster field, Lapides has also helped cement the reputation of the advertising poster as an art form worthy of the permanent collections of dozens of leading museums world-wide that have acquired works from the gallery, including MoMA, Zurich Design Museum, The Olympic Museum Lausanne, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, The New Zealand National Library, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Twenty-five years ago, when International Poster Gallery first opened on Newbury Street in Boston, the collecting field was largely dominated by well-known French artists: Toulouse-Lautrec, Alphonse Mucha and A.M. Cassandre. While those artists are still vied for, Lapides championed lesser-known and long-neglected traditions including Italian, Dutch, Swiss and Soviet posters.

The gallery has also broken ground with exhibitions of the Bolshevik Poster, Machine Age and “Mad Men” era posters, 1930s Pan Am posters, 60 years of tourism posters to Africa, winter sports, 1920s work incentive posters, Swiss poster master Herbert Leupin, rising Post-Modern masters and other themes. This innovative schedule of more than 50 thematic shows continues at the current gallery location in SoWa.

Highlights of “Winning Posters!”, include Bernard Minne’s kaleidoscopic Monaco XV Grand Prix of 1957, picturing two race cars dissolving into a blur of vibrant colors as they speed down to the finish line in this daring Mid-Century design.

The genre of product posters is represented by a stunning icon of 1930s Machine Age Design, Hungarian Robert Berény’s poster circa 1932 for Modiano cigarette rolling papers. In this minimalist poster, a top hat donned gentleman is reduced to geometric shapes while the glowing cigarette tip serves as the dot over the letter “i” in the brand name. His red hand looks more like a set of robotic digits off the set of Metropolis.

This contrasts dramatically with the captivating ingénue in Charles Loupot’s 1919 poster for a Swiss silk merchant a decade earlier. The elongated figure displays the graceful elegance and Eastern influence that made the young artist the leading fashion poster artist of the stylized early phase of Art Deco, sometimes called Style Moderne.

“My goal when we opened 25 years ago was to share my passion for the poster as an art form with clients and staff, and it is satisfying today to see how the field has blossomed. Posters have now been avidly collected for almost 130 years and yet despite steady appreciation are still within reach of beginning collectors,” comments Lapides, who began seriously collecting Italian posters 15 years after studying art history at Yale. “Our clients span the globe and their interests are unbelievably diverse and ever changing. Posters speak to them for their artistic beauty, their ingenious advertising methods and for their window on history.”

One of the gallery’s most important museum shows, co-curated by the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, was Graphic Intervention: 25 Years of International AIDS Awareness Posters, 1985-2010. The 11-venue exhibition was culled from Lapides’ collection of more than 3,000 HIV/AIDS posters from some 85 countries. “The worldwide AIDs campaign was the largest poster campaign in the history of the medium, and that includes World War I when the poster had no competition from TV, film and radio,” Lapides stated. “They are a remarkable tribute to the many who were lost and those who battled for them during the desperate struggle to defeat the disease.” Fittingly, one of the gallery’s collectors donated the entire collection to the Wolfsonian Museum in South Florida, well-known for its collections of graphics and propaganda arts.

In addition to gallery shows and special exhibitions, IPG’s award-winning website offers one of the largest, most comprehensive online collections of vintage advertisements in the world. Launched in 1998, the site now contains 5,000 images accessible through a powerful search engine. The website’s rich content and writing on posters has made it an educational portal.

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