Christie’s Ski Art Sale, 2017

This winter the paparazzi will join the throngs of winter sports enthusiasts who head to the luxury ski chalets of Europe. They want to snap the most beautiful people having the time of their lives – and wearing the world’s best designers while they do it.

This ski-style link is nothing new. As the sport developed through the 20th century it marketed itself to the discerning – and the well off – by using cutting edge imagery in its advertising. On Tuesday, 28th November, Christie’s in London hosts the latest iteration of the annual sale of ski posters it’s been holding since 1998.

Finest Holidays S.L. has selected it’s pick of the sale’s images, and we hope you’ll enjoy this window on the luxury skiing world of the past.

Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "Zermatt" and "St. Moritz""
© Christie’s Images Ltd. (2) “Zermatt” lithograph by Hugo Schol, 1938. Estimate £ 5,000-7,000. Not much is known of Hugo Schol, though he seems to have produced some wonderful ski art in his career. Zermatt in the 1930s was a resort on the up. Its status as basecamp for the Matterhorn had put it on the map in the 19th century and from 1928 its ski season was part of the established European social calendar. Poignantly, this poster celebrates what was the last ski season before Europe was plunged into long years of war; “St. Moritz” lithograph by Alois Carigiet, 1932. Estimate £ 6,000-8,000. Carigiet, born in Switzerland in 1902, is one of the winter holiday artists whose work has a wider importance. Check out his charming work in children’s books if you get the chance, it was good enough to win him the first Hans Christian Andersen Medal for illustrators in 1966. But before that he produced a huge number of posters from his own graphic design studios in Zurich during the 1920s and 30s.

The sales offer a beautiful survey of the history of ski advertising. While today’s advertising imagery relies heavily on stock imagery and digital manipulation, posters from the golden age of the European ski resort include the original work by some geniuses of graphical art always working beautifully with wonderful typography.

Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "Valais" and "Chamonix Mt. Blanc"
© Christie’s Images Ltd. (2) “Valais” lithograph by Libis (Herbert Libiszewski), 1949. Estimate £ 10,000-15,000. Advertising the Valais canton of Switzerland, Libis, stayed true to the bright colours and cheerful feel that pervades his work. As well as singing the praises of Swiss ski resorts, Libis produced posters selling all sorts of products, from haute couture to humble milk; “Chamonix Mt. Blanc” lithograph by Roger Broders, 1930. Estimate £ 4,000-6,000. There has always been more to ski resorts than simply skiing, as Broders‘ typically elegant and impactful design shows here

Winter tourism was a trail-blazing sector. Holidays had been for hot weather, yet here were obscure mountain villages trying to tempt large numbers of people to enjoy an obscure adventurer’s sport in the coldest places in Europe, some of which were seriously inaccessible!

Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "Valais" and "Chamonix Mt. Blanc"Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "St. Moritz" and "La Route des Alpes"
© Christie’s Images Ltd. (2) “St. Moritz” lithograph by Emil Cardinaux, 1918. Estimate £ 12,000-18,000. This is an early image from one of Switzerland’s most popular ski artists. Cardinaux worked in many media and many art genres, but it was his holiday posters that took his work to an international stage; “La Route des Alpes” lithograph by Roger Broders, ca. 1920. Estimate £ 3,000-5,000. Roger Broders is one of the best and best-known of the artists of the winter holiday. Many of his trips to the south from his native Paris were paid for by the The Paris Lyon Mediteranée Company who commissioned much of his work, though its pioneers of the automobile who Broders is trying to tempt to the slopes here

They sold the idea of a winter sports break on the excitement and speed of zooming down the slopes or a bobsleigh track or around an ice rink. They also showcased the traditional Alpine lifestyle, painting cozy Swiss villages with horse drawn sleighs on every street corner. And then there were the health benefits of the champagne air – then as now, high-quality spa treatments go hand in hand with a winter break – and all that exercise.

Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "Winter in Davos" and "Villars"
© Christie’s Images Ltd. (2) “Winter in Davos” lithograph by Burkhard Mangold, 1914. Estimate £12,000-18,000. A master of all trades, Basel-born Burkhard Mangold’s oeuvre took in theatre design and stained glass as well as the striking graphical images that saw him win many iconic Swiss government commissions; “Villars” lithograph by Johannes Handschin, 1934. Estimate £ 5,000-7,000. Johannes Handschin’s Art Deco images used simple, graphical imagery to bring the magic of the Swiss landscape to an international audience. He was recognised as a leader of the Basel graphic art movement, and was considered an innovator for his use of new-fangled art technology like the air brush in his striking images

Many of the buyers at the sale in London’s stylish King Street will be the owners of their own Alpine accommodation. Bars, hotels, restaurants, and for-rent chalets in the best resorts love these historic images that showcase the heritage of their properties to visitors.

Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "Valais" and "Chamonix Mt. Blanc"Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "L'Hiver en Suisse" and "Sports D'Hiver"
© Christie’s Images Ltd. (2) “L’Hiver en Suisse” lithograph by Emil Cardinaux, 1921. Estimate £ 7,000-9,000. The 1920s was one long party for the lucky few and where better to let your newly bobbed hair down than in an Alpine resort. On the snow, the decade saw downhill or alpine skiing really taking over from the nordic style of cross-country skiing; “Sports D’Hiver” lithograph by Bernard Villemot, 1954. Estimate £ 1,500-2,000. What a classic image this is, created by the Frenchman known as one of the “painter-laureate of modern commercial art.” Villemot brought his swirling colours to brands like Orangina and Air France and couldn’t resist a splash of sunny yellow even when focusing on his country’s coldest spots

There are 70 lots up for grabs, and fierce bidding can push prices up towards a world-record high of £36,500 for a single poster. That was for a Russian-language poster – very much reflecting current trends in the luxury ski market. Last year’s top estimate was the £25,000 predicted for an image by Carl Moos produced to promote St. Moritz. Moos knew skiing inside out, though his own Olympic medal was awarded for the artistic competitions that were once a part of the games.

Holiday advertising was a competitive world in the mid 20th century – your images needed to stand out in a crowded, colorful and very high-quality field. And, then as now, the skiing market was a luxury sector, with customers who demanded, and were used to receiving the best.

Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "Klosters" and "Sports D'Hiver Chamonix"
© Christie’s Images Ltd. (2) “Klosters” lithograph by Alex Walter Diggelmann, 1933. Estimate £ 1,500-2,000. This is a bargain – if the estimate holds true – for a work by one of only two artists to win three medals in Olympics arts competition. Diggelmann was also something of a sportsman, and true to his Swiss nationality was a keen crossbowman; “Sports D’Hiver Chamonix” lithograph by Jules-Abel Faivre, 1905. Estimate £ 5,000-7,000. Faive’s work is considered good enough to have made it into the collections of MOMA in New York. It’s fitting that Chamonix – one of the trail-blazing resorts of the winter season – should feature in one of the oldest images in Christie’s 2017 sale

They were also used to being at the cutting edge. As this demanding clientele helped make Swiss hideaways like Klosters, Zermatt, Verbier and Gstaad; French mountain villages like Méribel, Megève, Courchevel, Chamonix and Val d’Isère, and St. Anton, Kitzbuehel, and Fügen in Austria into world-famous luxury travel destinations they did so with the best clothing, motor cars and entertainment technology.

That means ski posters are hugely collectible. They are often striking works of art in their own right – the Art Deco period is particularly rewarding – and they are also social history. Look for not only hugely fashionable art styles, but also lifestyles that in their fashion, technology or even eroticism suggest that the client is well ahead of current social mores.

Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "Valais" and "Chamonix Mt. Blanc"Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "Gstaad" and "Les Sports d'hiver. St. Pierre de Chartreuse"
© Christie’s Images Ltd. (2) “Gstaad” lithograph by Alex Walter Diggelmann, 1934. Estimate £ 20,000-25,000. The pioneering spirit of the early skiing industry is captured beautifully in a fine, impactful image by Diggelmann; “Les Sports D’Hiver. St. Pierre de Chartreuse” lithograph by Roger Broders, ca. 1930. Estimate £8,000-12,000. St Pierre is not one of the best known European ski resorts, and the name of the village pays homage to its more famous role as the home of the Carthusian order of monks. The skiing here can be fine though, and the town was chic enough to tempt Queen Victoria to call. Tellingly, Broders here concentrates on the speed and excitement of spectator sports

Demand for posters tends to follow skiing money, and Christie’s this year are highlighting images related to fashionable Davos, St. Moritz, Zermatt, Pontresina and Gstaad in the run up to the sale. The Valais region in Switzerland is also celebrated as ‘le pays du soleil‘.

And that world record could be threatened! Lot 308, a poster advertising a motor race, the Swiss Klausenrennen Motor Race by Ernst Friedrich Schonholzer, 1932, shows a Bugatti swooshing through mountain landscapes – the perfect match of speed, style, and snow.

Ski Poster Sale at Christie's, London - "Val d'Isère" and "IX. Internationales Klausenrennen"
© Christie’s Images Ltd. (2) “Val d’Isère” lithograph by Raymond Savignac, 1948. Estimate £ 1,500-2,000. Could there be much doubt that Raymond Savignac’s work is French? Boyhood dreams of a cycling career dashed, young Raymond discovered a new passion for drawing in his parents‘ down-to-earth Paris cafe. After World War II his career – and his individual style – really took off and he drew for some of France’s iconic brands; “IX. Internationales Klausenrennen” lithograph by Ernst Friedrich Schonholzer, 1932. Estimate £ 50,000-70,000

The Finest Holidays collection of luxury chalets is a work of art in its own right. We seek out only the best and most opulent winter chalets, apartments and hotels in the world’s finest resorts and present them to you. If you would like to find out more then please take a look around our website and call us NOW  on +34 661 71 80 61 or +34 971 13 15 41 to speak to a resort expert or email relax@finest-holidays.com

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