As museums have slashed budgets for publications about their antiques in recent years, collectors are picking up the slack. In the last few months a half-dozen scholarly books have been released about narrow categories of objects, with texts and sometimes funding provided by obsessed owners.
To help sell books, some collectors are even organizing exhibitions of their treasures. Ira M. Resnick, a real-estate investor and a photographer who owns about 2,500 movie posters printed between the 1910s and 1960s, has published 258 of them in “Starstruck: Vintage Movie Posters From Classic Hollywood” (Abbeville) and is displaying two dozen in a show that opens on Friday in a gallery at the Walter Reade Theater at Lincoln Center.
“It’s a financial labor of love,” he said during a recent interview at his Midtown office, under the gaze of John Barrymore as the lead in “Don Juan” in 1926 and as a despairing insane asylum patient in “A Bill of Divorcement,” from 1932.
Mr. Resnick provided the book’s high-resolution photos; in full-page reproductions, Louise Brooks crouches inside a giant red notebook in a 1929 ad for “Diary of a Lost Girl,” and Barbara Stanwyck proffers herself to an Asian lover in a scene from a 1933 box-office bomb titled “The Bitter Tea of General Yen.” Mr. Resnick also financed some publicity for the book and wrote its text (Martin Scorsese provided a foreword), explaining why he spent decades buying at stores with names like Cinemabilia and the Memory Shop.
“These posters let me imagine myself back in the movie palaces, Bijou theaters and fleapits of yesteryear, sharing in the emotional rush of audiences,” he writes.