Mad Men & The Electric Circus

Since its inception, Mad Men has been tossing out some major poster references. My favorite, however, is perhaps the most random – last season Joan and her Mary Kay saleslady friend Kate decided to go wild in downtown Manhattan nowhere other than The Electric Circus.

Mad Men Electric Circus

While the episode didn’t really delve too deeply into what exactly The Electric Circus was, we were certainly given the idea of a womb-like psychedelic den, like a lavalamp inside a conch shell.

In truth, The Electric Circus looked more like this

The Electric Circus

It was an eccentric nightclub down on St Marks Place, with the long-winded tagline of “play games, dress as you like, dance, sit, think, tune in and turn on.” The entertainment ran the gamut from The Velvet Underground and The Allman Brothers to circus performers and home movie light shows.

Sadly, its heyday was rather shortlived, remaining open only from 1967 to 1971. During its early days, however, Tomi Ungerer was commissioned to design its posters, all of which fully express the bizarre, hedonistic vibe so essential to the nightclub.

Tomi Ungerer The Electric Circus

Tomi Ungerer The Electric Circus

Tomi Ungerer The Electric Circus

Tomi Ungerer The Electric Circus

Tomi Ungerer The Electric Circus

Tomi Ungerer The Electric Circus

Dylan, Baez, & Gin

Sometimes I stumble across a photo and am all “no f*cking way!!!”

That’s how I felt when I saw this:

Joan Baez & Bob Dylan, ca. 1964

Joan Baez & Bob Dylan, ca. 1964

Why, you ask, would anyone get that excited about a photo of musical legends Bob Dylan and Joan Baez standing in front of a poster?

Well, I’ll tell you: it’s because we’ve had that poster in our gallery since the 1960s, and no one ever paid any attention to it.

Booth's Gin by Seymour Chwast

Booth’s Gin by Seymour Chwast

Designed by Seymour Chwast, the image was meant to promote Booth’s Gin. You can see that Joan is positioned so that her body blocks the product, making it appear like more of a general protest poster rather than an ad for liquor.

Suddenly, the photograph is far more contrived than you originally thought, huh?

Stars Wars Meets World War II

Russell Walks Star Wars

We here at Rennert’s Gallery are mega fans of the Star Wars movies (well, not the most recent ones, but I don’t want to throw too much shade); so, it should come as no surprise that when I saw the work of Russell Walks, I needed to share it with you.

In one of his latest projects, he takes the tropes of American World War II propaganda posters and gives them a Star Wars twist. Many of them were even created for Lucasfilm, making them authorized fan art of the highest caliber.

Here’s just a sample of some of my favorites:

Russell Walks Star Wars

Russell Walks Star Wars

Russell Walks Star Wars

Russell Walks Star Wars

Russell Walks Star Wars

Russell Walks Star Wars

Russell Walks Star Wars

Russell Walks Star Wars

Poster Mystery Solved!

The following is a guest post from our esteemed boss, king of posters, Jack Rennert.


Le Pendu, by Toulouse-Lautrec

Of all various forms of art and communication, the poster is the medium that most eschews mystery: its images must directly and convincingly sell its products, services, events or causes. It’s no place for obfuscation.

And yet… In every book on Toulouse-Lautrec, one of his images, titled “Le Pendu” (The Hanged Man), is listed as being one of his 30 posters. Everyone looks at this and sees a print, but not a poster. There’s no text and it doesn’t tell us what it’s about (other than a gruesome scene).

But in the catalogue for our May 4th auction (Lot 583A), we see that this print was intended to be placed inside a large text poster, serializing the novel Les Drames de Toulouse in the Toulouse newspaper La Dépêche. This complete poster is the rarest of all Toulouse-Lautrec’s 30 posters. Mystery solved!

La Dépêche / Le Pendu, by Tououse-Lautrec

Posters & Pervs

The vintage poster world is filled with pervy old men (and we’re not just talking about my dating life).

So here, in honor of those that skeev so hard, are my favorite posters of dirty old men in our upcoming sale:

Toulouse Lautrec

Toulouse Lautrec

“Oh, don’t mind me, I’m just going to slip my hand down your dress. I’m a doctor. It’s totally cool.”

Theo Matejko

Theo Matejko

“I believe you get a better fit if you do the alterations while the client is naked.”

Marcel Vertes

Marcel Vertes

“I’m using these binoculars to get a better view of your beautiful breasts face. Pay no attention to the fact that I’ve positioned a well-lit mirror up the back of your skirt.”

Erich von Kreibig

Erich von Kreibig

“Terribly sorry, miss. I happen to have tripped right into your crotch.”

Henry Le Monnier

Henry Le Monnier

“Candy, little lady?”

Marcellin Auzolle

Marcellin Auzolle

“Just have another drink. I promise I didn’t rufi you.”

Cassandre & High Fashion

I was recently reading an old article in AnOther magazine, only to discover that Cassandre, Art Deco master responsible for the famous Dubonnet posters, was also the genius behind the iconic Yves Saint Laurent logo.


Debuting in 1961, the three stacked initials of the fashion house’s founder still remain its logo today.


As posters are my life, I think it only fair that my boss fund this purchase so that I can properly represent the gallery.

Of course, knowledgeable fashionista that I am, I already knew that YSL was not Cassandre’s only high fashion collaboration. Starting in the late 1940s, he began working with Hermes, designing everything from playing cards to cufflinks.



His most important creation for the house, however, was the trompe l’oeil scarf, reissued countless times in a variety of colors. Here are a few over the years:





Amputees & Tires

Wanna see the creepiest tire advertisement of all time?


Nothin’ like saying your tire brand could allow a legless man beat a horse and a championship cyclist.

Fire your marketing team. Please.

Poster Challenge

Having once said that I can come up with a poster tie-in for any news story, my male coworker just forwarded me the Gawker article on the new laboratory-grown vaginas.

Betcha can’t find a poster to correspond to this, says he.

Oh but I can:

Le Solitaire by Armand Segaud, ca. 1900

Le Solitaire by Armand Segaud, ca. 1900

Yes, that’s a genuine turn-of-the-century vibrator being advertised. Perfect for your straight-from-the-factory lady parts.

Anyone else care to challenge me?

Leonetto Cappiello’s Birthday!

In case you keep track of these things, today is Leonetto Cappiello’s birthday.

Father of Modern advertising, he was the first artist to place his figures in front of a bold, usually black, background, demanding visual attention from the many passersby.

Here are a few of my personal favorites in our upcoming May 4 auction:


The artist’s first poster, this image announces the inaugural issue of Le Frou Frou, a satirical journal similar to today’s MAD Magazine.


One of a few posters he created for a breath mint brand.


One of my favorite images by the artist, this poster perfectly captures the joy of eating freshly shucked oysters by the sea.


Possibly his most gorgeous design, this posters advertises cookies!


We’re lucky enough to also have some original artwork (known as a maquette) by Cappiello. This is the preliminary design for a poster advertising a tea import company.


One of his most iconic images, it’s supposed to be the visual representation of the company’s tagline “sunshine in a glass.”

Game of Thrones Meets Alphonse Mucha

While not normally a huge supporter of fan art, I have to say whoever came up with these awesome images of the women of Game of Thrones as Alphonse Mucha-style heroines is a genius.


Daenerys Targaryen: Mother of Dragons meets La Dame aux Camelias


Ygritte the Wildling as Hamlet


Sansa Stark as The Rose (Part of the Four Flower series)


Brienne of Tarth as Medee


Margaery Tyrell as Amethyst (from the Precious Stones series)


Shae as both La Trappistine and La Dame aux Camelias


Catelyn Tully a bizarre hybrid of every Mucha theatrical poster


And finally, Cersei Lannister as the Gismonda