was an Italian
poster art designer who lived in Paris.
He is now often
called 'the father of modern advertising' because of his
innovation in poster design. The early advertising poster was
characterized by a painterly quality as evidenced by early
poster artists Jules Chéret, Alfred
Choubrac and Hugo D'Alesi. Cappiello, like other young artists,
worked in way that was almost the opposite of his predecessors.
He was the first poster artist to use bold figures popping out
of black backgrounds, a startling contrast to the posters early
Cappiello had no
formal training in art.
The first exhibition of his work was in 1892, when a painting
was displayed at the municipal museum in Florence.
Cappiello started his
career as a
caricaturist illustrating in
journals like Le Rire,
Le Cri de Paris, Le Sourire, L'Assiette au Beurre, La Baionnette,
Femina, and others. His first album of caricatures, "Lanterna
Magica," was made in 1896. In 1898, he moved to Paris, and his
caricatures were published in Le Rire for the first time.
Cappiello made his
name during the poster boom period in the early 20th century,
with designs markedly different from premier poster artist (ref.
"Cappiello, the posters of Leonetto Cappiello by Jack Rennert
His first poster, for the newspaper Frou-Frou, was made in 1899.
He signed first contract for posters with printer
P. Vercasson in 1900.
He was married to Suzanne Meyer Cappiello in 1901. Between 1901
and 1914, he created several hundred posters in a style that
revolutionized the art of poster design.
Cappiello redesigned the fin-de-siècle
pictures into images more relevant to the faster pace of the
20th century. During this period, Capiello continued as a
During World War I,
Cappiello worked as an interpreter in Italy.
Afterwards, he devoted his career fully to poster design. In
1919, he signed a contract with publisher
he remained with the agency until 1936
Over the course of his
career Cappiello produced more than 530 advertising posters
which surprise and delight the viewer. Today, his original
posters are still collected, sold at auction and by dealers
around the world.