Variety Show

Photo by Chelsea Curtis

The Chisholm Larsson Gallery (www.chisholm-poster.com) is one of the oldest galleries in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood, yet its greatest asset, perhaps, is that it never seems old. Robert Chisholm, one of the gallery’s founders, says that what makes his vintage poster gallery special is that it lacks any one specialty. “At this point, we’ve got a good 120 years of poster art, from the 1880s all the way up to hip-hop award [posters] from 2005,” he says. “We like being broad like that. If the poster is graphically interesting, no matter what the period, that’s something we look for.”

Chisholm’s open-mindedness translates to an ever-growing inventory. He estimates that the gallery acquires between 20 and 30 new pieces each day. “We’re quite fanatical about buying and acquiring interesting pieces, so literally all day long we’re opening packages and tubes and answering e-mails about posters that are being offered for sale,” he says.

With only a 1,200-square-foot gallery space at his disposal, it’s impossible for Chisholm to display even a fraction of the posters that are for sale, but specific pieces can be pulled out and displayed in the gallery on request, generally with no more than 24 hours’ notice. Average prices fall between $600 and $1,200, yet regardless of price, it’s the gallery’s commitment to rarity that Chisholm believes is responsible for many customers’ regular visits. “We don’t buy collections,” he says. “A good 70 or 80 percent of our pieces are unique to us, and each piece has been carefully selected for its merits.”

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