Poster art designer and painter Leonetto Cappiello was born 9 April 1875 in Livorno.

By Jean Marie Carey

Poster art designer and painter Leonetto Cappiello was born 9 April 1875 in Livorno. With no formal training in art, Cappiello began visiting Paris in the 1890s, settling there permanently in 1896, where he began both painting and earning a living as a caricature artist for the satirical journals Le Rireand L’Assiette au Beurre. Cappiello’s early poster style was influenced by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, but Cappiello ultimately developed his own innovative style, rejecting Art Nouveau and moving the advertising posting into a modernist medium of its own. Cappiello worked until his death in February 1942, creating more than 1,700 posters for food, liquor, travel agencies, autos, and theatrical events.

Reference: Leonetto Cappiello: dalla pittura alla grafica. (Florence: Artificio, 1985.)


Chocolat Frigor, c. 1929. Museum of Modern Art Architecture & Design Collection. Nr. 493.1983.

Polaire Dans Le P’tit Jeune Homme de Willy & Luvet, c. 1900. Lithograph. Museum of Modern Art Architecture & Design Collection. Nr. 549.1943.

Bitter Campari, c. 1921. Museum of Modern Art Architecture & Design Collection. Nr. 492.1983.

Amandines de Provence, Biscuits Pernot, c. 1900. Museum of Modern Art Architecture & Design Collection. Nr. 568.1954.

Superbagnéres – Luchon. Sports d’hiver, c. 1929. Eyes of the Nation: A Visual History of the United States (Library of Congress). Nr. LC-USZC4-4520 3G04520.


Further Reading: Dario Cimorelli and Anna Villari. Posters: Advertising and Italian Fashion, 1890-1950. Milan: Silvana, 2013.

Dario Cimorelli. Posters: Irony, Imagination and Eroticism in Advertising 1895-1960. Milan: Silvana, 2012.

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