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  • Artist: Leonetto Cappiello

    Leonetto Cappiello

    Leonetto Cappiello (April 9, 1875-February 2, 1942) is one of the most widely recognized poster designers of the early-twentieth century, and is considered by many to be the father of modern advertising. Born in Liverno, Italy, Cappiello moved to Paris in 1898 where he began working as a caricaturist despite the fact that he never had any formal artistic training. Soon after, he signed a contract with the printer and publisher Pierre Vercasson, where his career truly began. His use of bold colors and figures against dark backgrounds and integration of the arabesque form were designed to capture the eye of passers-by, and have come to be known as his signature style. After the close of the First World War, Cappiello went to work for the publisher Devambez, affording him international circulation and recognition. Since his death in 1942, Cappiello's posters have been incorporated into major museum collections and exhibitions. 

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    Heralded as the father of modern advertising, Leonetto Cappiello transformed the world of poster-making at the turn of the century. Unlike his predecessors, who tended to approach their work with a more painterly quality, Cappiello revolutionized advertisement design with his bold, popping figures and arabesque forms. Using mostly black backgrounds to contrast with the bright, vibrant colors of the figures, Cappiello’s posters were designed to catch the eye and the attention of passers-by. Though he had no formal training, he has created some of the most iconic prints today. Best known for his liquor and food advertisements, Cappiello tended to avoid crowding his posters with text or background detail, preferring single, lone subjects that popped out at his viewers. Easily one of his best works, Cappiello's 1922 Contratto poster depicts a joyful woman holding a glass brimming with delicious champagne - it's almost enough to make one thirsty.