Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mexican Mayhem

Yesterday I showed some examples of the linenbacking and restoration undertaken by Dario Casadeo at Vintage Movie Art. But some posters need treatment even if the haven't been sitting in a barn with only some chickens for company in the last three decades! In particular, Mexican posters from the 1960's and earlier were printed on paper that is so thin and low quality, they can be in bad shape even if the have never been unfolded since leaving the printing press. Due to the acid in the paper, as well as dirt in the environment (like cigarette smoke) these posters slowly but surely deteriorate until there is nothing left. The only way to stop this process is to wash out all the acid and dirt, and then mount the poster on paper or linen.

Here is an example. This amazing 1962 poster for El Baron del Terror (re-named The Brainiac in the US) had never been used, yet the paper was is such bad shape, it was literally falling apart in my hands when I unfolded it.

After Dario had soaked the poster in his special bath, it did fall apart! The fold lines were so fragile the poster separated almost completely, and the paper was like mush - a very gentle hand was required to get it all out of the bath in one piece and mount it on linen.

But he made it! Here is the Baron looking better than ever, and ready to suck brains for many years to come!

Here is an example of a more recent Mexican poster. It seems that between the early 1960s and 1969, when Las Vampiras came out, paper quality was radically improved, and this poster was not on nearly as bad paper as the older examples. However, it still had many other problems - stains, tears, wrinkles, etc.

But this is where linenbacking shines - the dirt was washed away, the paper loss filled in ,and wrinkles magically disappeared! Here are Las Vampiras cleaned up and looking better than ever!

Finally, two recent restoration works by Dario. El Santo Contras las Mujeres Vampiro (1962) is another example of a poster that was literally crumbling in my hands when I first unfolded it, and one that would not have survived for much longer without linenbacking. Like the Baron, it separated in the bath but came together nicely in the end.

Blue Demon Contra las Diabolicas is of later vintage - 1968 - but apparently did not benefit from the better paper of the later 60's, being almost as brittle as some of the older posters. But with linenbacking the Demon is ready to fight another day!

Not all posters benefit from linenbacking, and many collectors prefer an un-backed poster in very good condition as opposed to a linenbacked copy. But if you have a poster that is worse for the wear, or one where the paper is visibly falling apart by age, or even one that the dog ate, you should drop Dario a line...

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