NEW ORLEANS — A colorful and historic selection of promotional posters for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival are a key group of lots in Crescent City Auction Gallery‘s Important November Estates sale on Friday, November 3. The catalog is now open for bidding at LiveAuctioneers.
Since 1970 (with early attempts in 1968 and 1969), the event known as Jazzfest has entertained countless attendees with performances from jazz’s undisputed greats, such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Mahalia Jackson. Early posters from the first years exist, but were largely promotional in nature. Since 1975, commemorative posters have been produced for collectors, becoming icons for Jazzfest as well as valued items in their own right, often created by noted local artists.
A prime example is the 1976 poster featuring Fats Houston. Created by local artisan Maria Laredo, this signed edition is numbered 801/1000 and carries an estimate of $2,000-$4,000.
Noel Rockmore (1928-1995) achieved fame in his hometown of New York as a painter, draftsman and sculptor. His career took a dramatic turn in 1970, when he suddenly changed his name from Noel Davis to Rockmore, adopting his mother’s maiden name, and relocated to New Orleans.
This pair of unsigned chromolithographs created by Rockmore for event producer George Wein date to 1970 and reflect a combination of art and graphic design with the goal of selling event tickets. They feature bold graphics and original art by Rockmore of Sister Gertrude Morgan and Chicken Henry, drummer for the Olympia Brass Band. The pair are estimated at $1,500-$2,500.
Famed “Blue Dog” Louisiana artist George Rodrigue (1944-2013) had his own contributions to the series in 1996 (clarinetist Pete Fountain) and 2000 (famed trumpet player Al Hirt). The 2000 poster is signed and numbered 5372/10,000, while the 1996 example is unsigned and numbered 4904/1000. The Al Hirt poster carries an estimate of $800-$1,200, while the Pete Fountain one is at $600-$900.