143 x 88 in./363.2 x 223.5 cm Imp. P. Vercasson, Paris
Cappiello created two designs for the Pygmalion department store; for his summer fashions design, see Cappiello/Rennert, 187. “In numerous instances, Cappiello created designs for commercial products in which his penchant for exuberance and exaggeration remains quiescent. What we get instead of extravagance are commercial images executed in fine style with the quiet competence of a talented artist. These two large, 4-sheet posters... [typify] this approach. The carefully arranged scenes could easily stand alone as pieces of fine art; note how they create an aura of refinement and gentility without ostentation. Where is the exuberant, outrageous, capricious Cappiello that we know and love? He’s still there, but in these designs he shows his quiet side: the artist who may easily have chosen a less volatile professional career, a skilled posterist who knows when excess would be inappropriate or unnecessary” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 134). This four-sheet poster is the only known copy.
59 x 117 in./149.8 x 297.2 cm Imp. de la Vasselais, Paris
Many of Morvan’s more than 800 posters were for films, but his broad colors and incisive wit are displayed to best advantage in his product posters, as is the case here. The bike racer mounted in this three-sheet poster takes a break from the rigors of competition, allowing himself a moment of refreshment. Although it appears as if he hasn’t even taken a sip, the mere act of hearing the trademark “pschitt” and seeing the effervescent dance of Perrier sparkling water is enough to brighten his face, as well as the air surrounding the bottle.
When L’Estampe et l’Affiche asked Jossot about his approach to creating Saupiquet Sardines, he explained: “The poster on the wall must howl, it has to force itself on the glance of the passer-by. I have to say without self-conceit that I have done an immense advertisement for the house of Saupiquet, doing as much with my noisy colors as with my grotesque drawing pushed almost to the monstrous” (Célébrités, p. 202). Curiously he didn’t speak about the celebrities he represented in the rather unflattering process of eating their sardines straight from the can with their hands. This illustrious panel includes—from left to right—Sidi-Ali Bey (notorious politico Doctor Grenier after his conversion to Islam), Yvette Guilbert, journalist and politician Henri Rochefort, Sarah Bernhardt, and Aristide Bruant. And as Jossot said, this poster is indeed immense, measuring six sheets and 19 feet wide.
"Down with the middleman!" Gustave Fabre vintners of Nîmes want you to take the side of the lovely, hardworking, indignant grape stompers and kick the distributor (and his fees) to the curb, and go straight to the source for your wine. This two-sheet masterpiece comes without the additional text on the bottom (which delivers a more discursive argument) because it's rather unnecessary. The image is everything.
79 1/4 x 77 1/4 in./201 x 196.2 cm Otis Litho., Cleveland
Although the typography and language in this square, four-sheet design are identical to the one used in a previous vertical format (see PAI-LIV, 126), the production company may well have employed a different artist. The previous scene of violence is handled in a more painterly and less tightly illustrative style than the picture in combat. Both scenes, however, are presented as heroic tableaux, with the treachery of the Indians and the bravery of the infantrymen emphasized to arouse the film viewer’s sympathy.
"Around 1900 in France, poster-mania had spread like wildfire with a vogue for organizing poster competitions that had apparently originated in the United States. There were generally two stages of competition: a preliminary round for draft layouts, followed by a second round between finalists. For the Bi-Borax poster competition (1897), there was an additional step in the selection process: after the eight finalists had been picked by a jury, their entries were printed together in the form of one very large [four-sheet] poster… the general public was then invited to select and vote for their favorite entry… The eight final designs were labeled with a capital letter, from A to H which corresponded to, respectively: L. Kovalsky, M. Clément, F. Poulboot, H. Detouche, J. Chadel, Ch. Weisser, J. Everlé, and one other, anonymous finalist. The text incorporated in each design was identical: ‘Oriental Bi-Borax cleans, purifies, cleanses’” (Health Posters, p. 155).
124 1/4 x 91 1/8 in./315.5 x 231.5 cm Cinemato, Paris
René Gruau made his mark with his iconic Miss Dior fashion campaign in 1947. Here, his Toulouse-Lautrec-inspired aesthetic is fully on display with this quite witty show stopper for Lido showgirls. Mind the gap; enjoy the view. This is a four-sheet poster.
124 x 93 1/4 in./315.5 x 227 cm La Litho SA, Gémenos
In 1958, English artist Ronald Searle and his wife traveled to Paris, where they compiled their observational drawings of the city into a book they called “Paris Sketchbook.” The city of Paris also commissioned Searle to create a number of poster campaigns like this four-sheet advisory to clean up after one’s pooch—even if said dog might not be happy about the altruistic activity.
“Fleur des Neiges is one of the products of Biscuits Pernot; since it means ‘snow flowers,’ Cappiello creates a verbal association by giving us two lovely ladies worthy of the name, their scarlet coats like blossoms in the vast whiteness. Their placement at the bottom of the vertical design with a snowy landscape allows the artist to create a brilliant impression reminiscent of classical Japanese prints of similar configuration” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 83). This is a three-sheet poster.
This is the original larger, four-sheet version of the popular 1909 design that has become firmly and indelibly associated with this product. It’s just the kind of bold overstatement that Cappiello believed would most effectively deliver the message, even with regard to so humble a product as a heating pad. It became so well-equated with the product, in fact, that this image was reprinted in many versions and editions for more than 30 years.
55 1/4 x 86 in./140.4 x 218.5 cm Imp. Devambez, Paris
“L’Avenir was a newspaper started in February, 1918, while the First World War still raged on, under the name Oui. When it was all over, in November of that year, it was decided that the paper, which was launched as a competitor for the ever-popular Figaro, would take on the name L’Avenir de Paris at the start of 1919. The poster shows Marianne, symbolizing France, revealing a sunny future for the paper—as well as for the country now freed from the burdens of war. The paper lasted until 1936; peace only three years more” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 192).
78 3/8 x 117 3/4 in./199.2 x 299 cm Imp. Devambez, Paris
“Here, the flame-hot ‘spirit of gas’ hovers over one of the Becuwe gas stoves (’Fourneaux’). The common denominator between [this and another design; see PAI-X, 149] is the near-photographic approach Cappiello used to render the appliances against the paper background. He varies the composition, but achieves the same stunning effect to entice the viewer. And seeing as the firm’s stove is considerably larger than their iron, the larger four-sheet format utilized here is proportionally appropriate” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 274).
143 x 88 in./363.2 x 223.5 cm Affiches Mauzi Joyant, Paris
Misti executed several promotions for the Pygmalion department store, and this four-sheet billboard is one of the most fascinating specimens of his work. Using their selection of magnificent artist’s sketch books as a jumping off point for the 1907 holiday gift sale, the design features an array of bewildering elements combined to create an enchanting image of delightful consumerism. The frieze at top uses the repeating motif of package-laden customers streaming towards their homes to create a flurry of a street scene, while the bottom tableau recreates a charming Dutch figurine pastoral. And though the fancy lad with out-turned pockets to the right would seem to indicate a less than bounteous atmosphere, the implied message seems to be that even if you are beset by less than prosperous times, Pygmalion can still come through with an assortment of gift-giving splendor.
100 x 153 in./254 x 388.6 cm Les Affiches Lutetia / Devambez, Paris
This monumental, 13-foot-tall champion of the French culinary tradition is not celebrating olive oil, as you might expect. Instead, this ruddy-cheeked chef is pouring out extra-virgin peanut oil, sourced from Rufisque, a city in Senegal. His chef's hat and shirt bear the four-diamond logo of Lesieur, the popular cooking oil producer whose products are on virtually every French cook's shelf, even today. This four-sheet poster is the largest of three formats.
77 x 108 in./195.6 x 274.3 cm Davide Campari & C., Milano
If Nizzoli’s design for Cordial Campari (see PAI-LXXVIII, 400) references elements of Expressionism, this composition for Bitter Campari calls to mind Cubism. As the table is raked forward and down, the bottles and glass manage to stay upright, lunging toward the viewer in gravity-defying space. While the product stands sturdily off to the left, an apéritif glass gets a magically handsfree splash of soda water, creating the brand’s signature cocktail. It is one of the rarest and most brilliant Art Deco designs ever created. This is the largest, four-sheet format.
156 x 122 in./396.2 x 309.8 cm Imp. IPA, Champigny
Over a thirty-year period starting in 1955, Villemot executed about twenty designs for Orangina. Most of them featured a red swirl of some sort—beach umbrellas (as is the case in this two-sheet design), hats, orange peels, spectacles, even hair curls—which has become associated with the product and lends a young upbeat feel to the images.
79 x 135 in./200.6 x 342.9 cm Imp. P. Vercasson, Paris
Beginning publication in 1897, Le Cri de Paris was a satirical weekly put out by Louis-Alfred Natanson, who was also the co-director of La Revue Blanche. Between August of 1898 and June of 1902, Cappiello contributed numerous front and back covers, as well as this poster, “with caricaturistic portraits of cloaked and masked figures at a ball, no doubt whispering the latest news and gossip that they’ve just picked up from Le Cri. In his 1903 publicity flyer, Vercasson cited the testimonial of the paper’s editor, Marilhet: ‘Cappiello’s poster that you executed for us has resulted in numerous compliments, and from an advertising point of view, the poster produced all the results I could have wished for’” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 44). This is a three-sheet poster.
78 x 108 in./198.1 x 274.3 cm Imp. Devambez, Paris
“Campari comes in two versions, the red Bitter and the white Cordial; here’s Cappiello’s graphic solution to promoting separate yet equal cocktail refreshments” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 215). This is a two-sheet poster.
78 x 124 in./198.1 x 314.9 cm Imp. P. Vercasson, Paris
“Bastos are the ‘clubs’ suite in a Spanish deck of cards, hence the symbol on the logo, as well as the mirror-image approach also associated with playing cards, albeit normally seen in a vertical alignment. The generic figurines don’t represent any specific country or culture per se, but their billowing white robes set against the geometric rug-like treatment of the club motif in the background, makes for a most striking image” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 173). This is a five-sheet poster.
97 x 153 in./246.4 x 388.6 cm Imp. P. Vercasson, Paris
“Cappiello showed the pleasure of smoking by projecting an image of a hedonistic Middle-Eastern potentate luxuriating with a self-rolled cigarette. In fact, the imperious pasha floats on his coach like a fat white cloud—an incongruous and therefore memorable image” (Cappiello/Rennert, p. 156). This long-lasting design would see thirteen further printings; this is the largest, four-sheet format.
83 x 125 in./210.8 x 317.5 cm Imp. Devambez, Paris
When Cinzano merged with Florio in 1930, Cappiello was called upon to create a mate for the red Cinzano zebra he’d invented twenty years prior. And so, the white and blue Florio zebra was born, shown here leaping side-by-side with his new brand-brother in this four-sheet design.