Our Growing Collections
^ OR MORE than half a century there has been a vigorous
interest in the artistic and graphic requirements of the
advertising poster—whether for circus, for Broadway hit,
for condensed milk, or for the latest best seller. Many monographs
on the technique and philosophy of the poster have been written.
Within recent weeks a great New York newspaper devoted nearly
a full-page spread in its Sunday drama section to an illustrated
critique lamenting the lack of "that old-time punch" in modem
theatrical posters. Dignified art galleries have featured innumer¬
able exhibitions of "The Poster." Collectors for more than two
generations have sought out specimens of the poster work of
Toulouse-Lautrec, Beardsley, Cheret, Grasset, Pennell, Bradley—
to cull only a handful of names from the long list of artists who
have at one time or another turned seriously to the design of adver¬
tising bills. Dealers in rare books and art objects have fostered this
interest, acquiring stocks of pristine examples as they have come
off the press and searching for recoverable specimens from the
forgotten past, all for the purpose of guiding them into the col¬
lections of connoisseurs.
One of the leading sources for posters in recent decades was
maintained by the late Gabriel Engel (A.B. 1913), whose office in
Union Square had long been the haunt of collectors of modern
first editions. Mr. Engel's catalogues came increasingly to em¬
phasize "pictorial posters"—arising, doubtless, from his own abid¬
ing interest in the subject. The catalogues are in themselves col¬
lectors' items, for their descriptions draw on the deep experience
and personal knowledge of posters and poster artists which Mr.
and Mrs. Engel had gleaned over the years.
Within the past few weeks the entire stock of posters remaining