Julius Paul’s Restituted Collection at Auction

On December 18, Swann Galleries will offer works from the restituted Julius Paul Collection of Posters, an outstanding collection of scarce images in remarkable condition–the likes of which are rarely seen today.


Original hand-stenciled poster by Josef Hoffmann, announcing the opening of the first Wiener Werkstätte showroom in Vienna, 1905.
Estimate $250,000 to $350,000.


The collection was formed between 1900 and 1935 by Julius Paul, a Hungarian-born Viennese distributor of cigarette papers, who died two months before the takeover of Austria by the Nazis in March of 1938. The posters were housed for nearly 70 years in the renowned Albertina Museum in Vienna, before being restituted to Paul’s heirs five years ago.

According to The New York Times: “Mr. Paul died at 70 in January 1938, leaving his 6,372 works of graphic art to a nephew, Gaston Belf. Months later, Mr. Belf fled to Czechoslovakia and then New York, and soon afterward, 3,600 of the posters, with index cards, turned up for sale at a Vienna book dealer. (The remaining 2,772 pieces have apparently vanished.) The Albertina bought the group for about $1,000; the dealer’s correspondence about the transaction ends with a hearty “Heil Hitler!””

Paul’s heirs have now decided to give the poster-collecting world at large an opportunity to acquire works from the collection at auction. The posters selected for Swann’s December 18 auction are exceedingly scarce, and most are in–or close to–new condition, owing to the Albertina’s utmost standards of museum conservation. 


Fernand Schultz-Wettel, Plakate C.T. Wiskott, 1901. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.


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