An exhibition of vintage posters
The Taber Art Gallery at Holyoke Community College kicks off the spring semester with "For Posterity," an exhibition of vintage posters from the collections of Ted Eiseman and Juan Vazquez.
Vazquez, a retired educator and longtime musician from Northampton, has been collecting poster art for more than 40 years. Eiseman, a visual artist, has owned Funny Face Poster Restorations in Haydenville for 25 years. The two met four years ago when Vazquez approached Eiseman about restoring some of the posters in his collection.
"They hit it off and have since been working together on music projects and sharing their interest in vintage posters," said Taber Art Gallery director Amy Johnquest.
"For Posterity" opened Monday, Jan. 27, and runs through Thursday, Feb. 13.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is a giant rhinoceros on a yellow, 10 by 6.5-foot poster from 1945 advertising the "World's Biggest Menagerie" from the famous Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey circus troupe. Others showcase classic films, such as the original "King Kong," and "Captain Blood," starring Errol Flynn; historic events like Woodstock; and famous musicians, including Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix.
"The posters reflect each of the collectors' interests and tastes," Johnquest said.
Some of the posters from the collection were shown last year at the Anchor House of Artists in Northampton last year. Vintage posters are a collectable art form available to almost everyone. Values vary but rare or collectible posters can be found in the $400 to $2,000 range.
A poster is considered vintage if it is at least 25 years old and is an original advertising print. Although printed public advertisements can be traced to the 15th century, the poster as it is understood today did not emerge until around 1860, given impetus by the invention of lithography, which allowed brilliantly colored posters to be produced cheaply and easily. Many of the poster artists went uncredited and remain anonymous, but there's a cadre of well-known poster artists as well. Early posters were printed using a complicated process of stone or plate lithography but over time other printing techniques (photolithography, woodblocks, silkscreens, photo-offset) were used.
The Taber Art Gallery at HCC is open Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. during regular school sessions. It is free and open to the public and located through the HCC Campus Library lobby on the second floor of the HCC Donahue Building, 303 Homestead Ave., Holyoke. For more information, please contact Amy Johnquest, director of the Taber Art Gallery, at 413.552.2614.
PHOTOS: Some of the vintage posters now on display in HCC's Taber Art Gallery feature classic films and historic events.