Gregor Fisken
Although my passion for vintage Cinema posters is a long standing one, I am better known for my business in the world of historic car dealing. My Company, "Fiskens" has a world renowned reputation for acquiring & selling the world's finest automobiles. Prior to establishing "Fiskens", I was also involved in the auction industry & thus my background betrays a real interest in history, engineering precision & aethestic appeal. My interest in vintage Cinema posters stems from this background & I would like to take this opportunity to explain a little bit more about the philosophy & circumstances behind my Cinema poster collection.

Popular culture affects all of us & in the 20th century, one of the most important & influential mediums of popular culture was the world of Cinema. From the early silent films, to the advent of the "talkies" & through to modern day CGI dominated films, movies have captivated & enthralled us. We all have fond childhood memories of specific films & for many of us, movies act as key markers in our lives. Whether it is Kubrick's "2001 A Space Odyssey", "Star Wars", or "Pulp Fiction", certain films trigger & evoke very particular memories for us. In the pre-Internet age, the single most important form of Cinema advertising, were the posters that were produced to promote the films. These Posters had a job to do. They had to highlight the film title, encapsulate the essence of the film & entice the public to want to see more. Commercial artists were employed to create such Posters & some truly incredible designs & images were produced. For many of us, it is these images which are still the things we most strongly associate with the films in question.

Through my love of historic cars, I was initially drawn to automobile related posters. Soon I progressed to collecting Cinema posters with an automobile theme & thereafter, I became engrossed with the wider world of Cinema posters. My collection now houses several hundred posters. The collection is quite diverse but there are several essential tenets upon which the collection is based. First, the film featured has to have a personal connection. Of equal importance, however, is the design & quality of the artwork. Each artist had his own specific style & of course, artistic trends also changed over time. I am only interested in posters which resonate on intellectual, emotional & aesthetic levels & therefore this is a personal collection. Having said that, however, I believe my tastes & interests are fairly catholic, so I'm sure that most people will find a number of pieces of interest here.

Films, of course, were produced that had serious & high-minded aims but the over-whelming majority of films were made for "entertainment". In particular, during the post-war period, the public wanted to laugh & have fun; there are indeed plenty of Comedy genre posters in this collection. The Poster artists also had a sense of humour & this often comes out in their designs. Of particular interest, is the way that as the mood of the times changed, so the artists were given more freedom to express themselves. In some cases, frustration with guardians of moral taste led to mischievous behaviour by the artists & we have some examples in the collection.

The bulk of the collection are UK Cinema posters, mostly UK Quad posters. It is a matter of personal taste but I prefer the landscape format of Quad posters & feel that the artwork often presents better in this format than the portrait style used by other countries. Within the collection, I have many examples of Posters by British artists. I have a particular fondness for the work of Thomas William Chantrell & you can see many examples of his work here. There are also plenty of pieces by British artists such as Brian Bysouth, Vic Fair & Eric Pulford. From Europe, we have some lovely examples by the Italian artists, Renato Fratini & Arnaldo Putzu (both who were working in London on Quad designs in the 1960's-70's). American Poster artistry is represented by the likes of Bob Peak, Robert McGinnis and Drew Struzan.

The majority of the posters in the collection date from the 1950's, 60's & 70's. Up until the early 1990's, most posters were created from original pieces of painted artwork. During the period 1989-92, however, Distributors switched to photographic based poster designs, feeling that these looked more "modern". The onset of computerisation & "Photoshop" meant that posters could be designed more cost effectively & the poster artists were droped. Although painted artwork based posters are generally the most collectable ones, I do have a selection of "modern" era posters in the collection. For example, "Pulp Fiction", "Inglorious Bastards" & "Shortbus". Stylistically, these are very different from the vintage posters but I still feel the examples I have chosen have an artistic merit & integrity that is worth applauding.

My day business involves sleuthing forgotten & hidden historic cars. Often, these require careful investigations as to provenance & sensitive restoration maybe required. There are parallels with my poster collecting. Whilst most poster collectors understand that posters were designed for a utilitarian purpose & therefore will show signs of wear & tear, one objective in building the collection has been to source items in the best possible condition. In addition, many of the posters in the collection have been restored & linen-backed. I believe in the concept of "honest restoration". What I want to own, is an original poster & not an overly restored painted mimic. Fortunately, this market is not yet bedeviled with fakes & forgeries but it goes without saying that I only acquire originals. As a consequence, I believe that the collection represents top quality both in terms of condition & provenance.

Although I have acquired posters from several sources my modus opearandi has been to work with a single trusted & reputable dealer. In in this regard, the bulk of the collection has been sourced by Mike Bloomfield of MEM. Mike & I have catalogued the collection & I hope you enjoy the insights about each poster. Though the collection is now well formed, there are still a few pieces that we are working to acquire. However, I am in no hurry to complete the collection & refuse to compromise my requirements as to condition. I am also a hard taskmaster with respect to pricing. Although I am encouraged by the steady appreciation of the value of collectable posters in the market, part of the joy of collecting is knowing that you are buying at the "right" level.

The bulk of the collection is represented on the website but I have certain pieces awaiting inspection & being restored that will be added in due course. As mentioned, there will be a few new acquisitions too, so I'd encourage you to return as there should be new listings each month. It is my hope that fellow collectors will enjoy browsing the collection. I hope too that my enthusiasm for vintage poster collecting reaches the uninitiated. This really is a fascinating past time. Posters are not only beautiful to look at but they are loaded with references to our past. Not only can a Poster image trigger memories of our younger years but you can tell much about the social & political climes of the time by looking closely at a poster. The poster artists often took great pride in their work but as commercial advertising artefacts, most posters were simply discarded after use. Now that people have begun to appreciate & enjoy Cinema posters, a lively & dynamic market has evolved. It is important that surviving posters are collected & cared for as Cinema posters represent an important part of our cultural history. Building this collection has been an educational experience & has given me terrific enjoyment too. I do hope that anyone who visits this site will gain similar enjoyment in looking at the posters & in learning about them too.

Gregor Fisken
January 2013