Seen in our upcoming Vintage Posters auction on August 6th, these vivid images of a celebrated Wild West figure are even more captivating in person.
The first poster, Col. W.F. Cody/”Buffalo Bill” from 1908, is what comes to mind when one talks about a “classic poster.” A description from our catalogue elaborates:
"One frequently speaks of a ‘classic’ poster of a famous person. It is meant to denote a poster which shows that individual to his best advantage, possibly at the summit of his career, serving to summarize his achievements and distill all his qualities into one final graphic statement … and there can be no question but that all the qualities that go into making such a poster are at work here. In 1908 [Buffalo Bill] was no longer at the height of his career, but he is surely sitting tall in the saddle, firmly in control of any situation, and his steadfast gaze seems to be one which looks forwards, as if to say, ‘The show must go on,’ and at the same time pensively looks back to a life full of the kind of action that no one would ever live through again. Doffing his Stetson with one hand he is both welcoming us and bidding us farewell; what matters is that the other hand is firmly holding the reins. There is no question about it, this is ‘the classic Cody’" (Buffalo Bill p. 16). Buffalo Bill 112 (var)."
The second, circa 1905, is a rare poster depicting scenes from Buffalo Bill’s life. Read its catalogue description here:
A rare poster comprised of scenes from Cody’s life, which previously appeared on two earlier Buffalo Bill posters, primarily Scenes in the Life of Col. W. F. Cody, 1895, and also three vignettes from Chief of Scouts and Guide for U.S. Army, circa 1888 (see Buffalo Bill p. 37 and p. 53). The 1895 poster, which was a horizontal format without a central bust image of Cody, features small, full-color scenes of Cody, as well as the busts of four U.S. Presidents: Grant, Arthur, Cleveland and Benjamin Harrison. Appearing on this French poster is the bust of just one President, William McKinley, elected in 1897. There are also two small vignettes that do not appear on either of the earlier posters; one for Cody Day at the Omaha Exposition (which was inaugurated in 1898), and an image of Bill’s first cabin. There exists an English variation of this poster, printed by the Enquirer Litho. Company in Cincinnati, dated 1899. Buffalo Bill toured France twice during his lengthy career; the first time in 1889, and the second and final time in 1905.”