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International Poster Gallery Is Art, History, And Advertising All Wrapped Into One

By Elisha Neubauer

Once named the friendliest gallery on Boston's Newbury Street by a tourism guidebook, International Poster Gallery focuses on poster street art from the last 100 years. After 23 years, the gallery relocated in February to its new home in SoWa, Boston's Art and Design district in the South End. The new gallery is a modern showcase for original lithographic posters that were originally designed o sell products as diverse as bicycles, aperitifs, cabarets, world's fairs and war bonds.

Posters are a way to look back into the past, to learn the stories behind the artists and companies that created them. Each poster sold at International Poster Gallery is a vintage original, not a reproduction. Currently, the shop displays over 5,000 posters in their rotating online gallery at any given time. The gallery displays a wide variety of subjects and styles from 1890 to the present.

"Last month we did a show for new collectors, and we currently are doing a show of some stellar recent acquisitions from France, Austria, Italy, Russia and Japan," owner Jim Lapides said. "We have done shows of Italian posters, war and propaganda, fashion, food and beverage, ocean liner and airline posters, as well as shows of Mid-Century Modern and Art Deco."

Posters display some of the greatest art of the 19th and 20th centuries. They combine everything from art and advertising to history.

"Those three things are a lot! I could teach a history class on World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Golden Age of Travel or the history of skiing using posters as my only illustration," Lapides said.

Original posters continue to be a rich category for collectors, with rarity becoming a more significant factor as every day goes by. Today, you can find impressive collections of posters in some of the greatest museums of the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art, the MFA in Boston, the Library of Congress, the Zurich Design Museum, and the Cooper Hewitt.

International Poster Gallery is one of the leading poster galleries in the world, offering a remarkable collection of rare and important pieces. Lapides, owner of the gallery, began his career in the vintage poster industry as a pioneering collector of Italian posters. His collection blossomed, taking on a life of its own. Eventually, it expanded to extraordinary proportions and Lapides was faced with the only decision he could come to: leave his corporate job and open a gallery.

The gallery has branched out substantially since first opening its doors. It has assisted scores of corporations and museums assemble poster collections. The gallery is staffed by a knowledgeable team, with Lapides himself sporting an impressive resume. He graduated with high honors in Art History at Yale University, specializing in Italian Renaissance Art and returned to school, earning an MBA.

"Despite more than 100 years of collecting, poster art is still one of the best kept secrets in the art market," Lapides said. "A world of discovery awaits you when you walk through our doors."

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About The Author

Elisha Neubauer is a freelance editor, ghostwriter, book reviewer, and author. She is...

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