Monday, April 28, 2008

Bern Hill

I'm sort of embarrassed to admit that I still watch Antiques Roadshow, long after its ironic hipness has worn off. I watch it for real and get jealous of all these people with their nice things. And sometimes I see something that I think I really want. This weekend was one of those times.

This guy Bern Hill used to paint promotional posters for railroads and locomotive manufacturers in the 1950's. I love old transportation art anyway; I just love big machines, I'm like a little kid. And I love that old hand-painted graphic design. But this guy was something else. He was a real artist; he made real compositions. He had a great sense of perspective and light and drama. At the same time, they're still promotional posters; he worked within the system. To be able to take that established form and make something truly unique is something I think is really special. Here are a couple examples of his work, and they may not be the best or the best quality images, I just literally took photos of my TV:

If you have any of this guy's work, I would like to buy it for a reasonable price. I don't care if it's a poster or a print or original. I just want something framed and hanging in my house. You can't buy this stuff at - I checked. Email me.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks a lot for posting these. I was just just watching AR and I was blown away by Bern Hill, who I had never heard of before this. I hope I can find some more info on him, and where to get some of his stuff. That guy who bought up all of his work was a smart S.O.B.

  3. I searched for anything of his the same night that show aired and barely anything popped up. It figures that now there are a bunch of people looking for these posters just like I am. I never even watch the Antiques Roadshow but I did that night. Now I'm stuck searching for this shit until I find it.
    Thanks for posting the pics off of your TV, they actually came out pretty well.

  4. Anonymous8:33 AM

    I saw the show. It seemened to me like the guy who brought in his work had acquired much of his stuff. Maybe you could try to contact him.

  5. Thx for posting these.

    I've got one or two old train magazines - one has that center image (yellow water and bridge truss). It looks to be an advertisement in your photos, they must've used it in multiple ways. Anyhow, i'll put my hands on it and do a better scan, it's really nice work.

  6. Anonymous2:33 PM

    i saw this too and fell in love with his work... im on a hunt for some posters myself!

  7. Anonymous6:50 PM

    I'm in the same boat. Never watch AR now I'm checking the internet for Bern Hill works. It's great stuff!

  8. Anonymous2:48 AM

    Man, I want some copies of these. It's like no one has ever heard of Bern Hill. His work isn't really something you can find very easily. These examples are all awesome.

  9. Anonymous9:56 PM

    My wife and I got bit by the same bug when we saw this on AR. Gotta find me some Bern Hill, this is wonderful, evocative art. What a set of eyes he had!

  10. John Cussick3:29 PM

    I found a piece for sale at . I too thought his work was great. The way he drew from diffrent perspectives was right on.

  11. Anonymous4:47 PM

    I see where Robert LaDuke gets his inspiration

  12. Anonymous8:40 PM

    Thanks for the compliment. I bought them initially because I liked them. A couple points of clarification regarding the appraisal. When Niko appraised the originals, he based the appraisal on the creation of the poster itself. In this case, the originals were created for the covers of Railway Age Magazine (I have a large collection of the original magazine proofs that the AR did not want to show), thus the originals are actually illustration art. Any such art that finds itself onto the cover of a publication actually commands a premium and is much more valuable than something created solely for a poster. The posters in this case were an added bonus to the General Motors advertising campaign. The rarety of the posters is largely the result of the type of paper the prints were made onto. It is a very high grade art paper that is very fragile. Most of the prints tear very easily and you'll notice in the appraisal I helped Niko move the prints. I did not want them to tear in the process of moving them around. I imagine that many of these prints did not survive the past 50 years because of the choice of paper. I will consider selling some of my collection and I can be contacted at I actually have over 20 posters and 9 originals. Glad you guys enjoyed the appraisal and appreciate the art as much as I do. Greg

    8:39 PM


About This Blog

This is increasingly not a blog about Alphabet City, New York. I used to live in the East Village and work on Avenue B, but I no longer do. Why don't I change the name if I'm writing about Japan and video games and guitars? Because New Yorkers are well-rounded people with varied interests, and mine have gone increasingly off the rails over the years. And I don't feel like changing the name. I do still write about New York City sometimes.


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