Ski posters to hit the peaks at Christie's

Well-timed to coincide with the frosty weather, Christie's will be holding their Ski Sale on January 21, showcasing a variety of highly collectible 19th-20th century posters devoted to the winter sport.

Although the first known carved wooden ski is over 8,000 years old, skiing for pleasure is generally thought to have began in the early 19th century.

St Moritz by Emil Cardinaux (£10k-15k)

An unlikely early champion of the new death-defying sport was Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of Sherlock Holmes. He completed the first ski tour across the alps, dressed in tweed and accompanied by his brothers.

By 1908, the familiar electric cable cars had been fitted to slopes and, by 1910, the first ski clubs had been formed. But it was in the 1920s that ski poster designs had their golden age.

Prized lots at Christie's will include a lithograph in colours from 1920, St Moritz, by Emil Cardinaux (1877-1936).

There are high hopes for this lithograph, which is a mirror image of the artwork which holds the European record value for a ski poster: �23,900.

Here, it is not the artist that holds the key to the poster's value - Cardinaux posters can be bought for around �2,000 - but rather its subject matter, graphics and location.

Buyers of ski posters are often those who have frequented their advertised destinations, and there should be a number of art collecting St Moritz skiers at Christie's auction.

Roger Broders' Winter Sports in the Alps

Cardinaux's St Moritz poster carries an estimate of �10,000-15,000.

Meanwhile, an earlier lithograph in colours from 1900, by Francisco Tamagno, of the Chamonix Mont-Blanc resort is hoped to exceed its �8,000-12,000 estimate.

The sale will also feature a true masterpiece of ski poster design by Roger Broders, commissioned by the railway company Paris à Lyon et à la Méditerranée (PLM), entitled Winter Sports in the Alps, circa 1930.

Estimated at a relatively modest �4,000-6,000, it could sell for much more.

Ski poster collectors apparently hold a particular fascination for artworks which evoke skiers' period clothing, and travel to the slopes.

Broders' design -  depicting bob cuts and jazz-age stylings - certainly fits this criteria.

The Christie's Ski Sale will take place in South Kensington, London, on January 21, 2010.


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