Date: c. 1930s
Size: 13 x 7.5 inches
Notes: Poster, Small, Horizontal, Decal
Artist: Cappiello, Leonetto
About The Artist: "Cappiello is considered to be one of the greatest posterists of his age. His approach was always image association - the idea that you don't really remember the image of the product itself, but the image of something associated with the product... Cappiello was the first who thoroughly understood this, and he applied it with considerable diligence in about a thousand posters." (Rennert)
Born and raised in Livorno, Italy, Cappiello knew at a young age that he would be an artist. In his youth, he drew caricatures and sketches, which proved he had a natural talent and an ambition that would eventually lead him to Paris in pursuit of his dream. Encouraged by his brother who was living in Paris at the time, Cappiello endeavored to sell his caricatures to magazines that would pay and support his art. He was so ambitious that he even approached Giacomo Puccini, the composer to ask if he could sketch him. He was successful and managed to submit the images to Le Rire magazine. Soon after, Cappiello became a sought-after cartoonist and caricaturist. His style, simple lines with strong colors and an equally strong product message was evident in some of the first commissions he received: an 1899 album of pochoirs depicting famous actresses shows that even as a young man Cappiello had already developed a style which he would use, with incredible results, throughout his creative life. His portraits and posters were playful and unique, a quality that bred his success. His illustrations were clean and simple, crossing the boundaries from Belle Epoque through to Art Nouveau to the more modernist approach of Art Deco while still combining styles from previous eras. Because of the simplicity of his graphics, Cappiello was able to produce nearly 1000 posters in his time and was an inspiration to many lithographers to follow. His work is sought after today and may be found in galleries and museums throughout the world.
About the Poster: Only Cappiello could use a larger than life elephant as the mascot for a rolling paper company - Le Nil has achieved brand awareness that has long outlived the brand itself, all thanks to the artist's brilliant marketing.
This is a small decal which would have been transferred to a mirror in a bar, or window display in a store - hence, the inverted image. The original poster for this design was printed in 1912 and inspired a wave of smaller advertisement pieces due to the popularity of the image. It is in excellent condition.