Viva Italia! A Decade of Italian Poster Discoveries at IPG Viva Italia! features more than fifty rare Italian poster masterpieces, dating from the 1890s to World War II. The show opens May 3, 2006 and runs through June 30th. A Reception and Preview will ta
News-Antique.com - Nov 30,-0001 - BOSTON - Over a decade ago, in 1995, International Poster Gallery on Newbury Street mounted the first major gallery retrospective of vintage Italian posters in this country. While French posters were already established in the collecting field, ten years ago Italian poster design was hardly known even in its own country, let alone in America. Today that has all changed, and Italian posters are in high demand and the subject of many books and exhibitions around the globe. Throughout this renaissance International Poster Gallery has been at the forefront of major discoveries in the field.
Viva Italia! features more than fifty rare Italian poster masterpieces, dating from the early days of the color illustrated advertising poster in the 1890s to World War II. The show opens May 3, 2006 and runs through June 30th. A Reception and Preview will take place Wednesday, May 3, 2006 from 5:30pm to 7:30pm. The reception and gallery show are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm and Sunday noon to 6 pm. The Gallery is located at 205 Newbury Street in Boston. Call (617) 375-0076 or visit www.internationalposter.com for information.
"Italian posters were rarely saved and finding great images is quite difficult, so we are enormously pleased to have assembled this group of masterpieces and present our first Italian show in more than a decade," states International Poster Gallery owner James Lapides.
Roots of the Italian Poster
The poster craze of the Belle Epoque spread slowly from France to Italy by the middle of the 1890s. While Parisian posters were inspired by that city’s cabarets and music halls, the poster in Italy was most inspired by its own unique cultural tradition – the opera. As early as the 1870s, the music publisher Ricordi opened a lithography shop to print its sheet music covers. Ricordi hired a brilliant German Art Nouveau graphic artist, Adolfo Hohenstein (1854-1928), who understood the Italian spirit so thoroughly that he is often called the "Father of the Italian Poster." By 1893 the firm was printing posters to promote its operas, and shortly thereafter began to create posters for other clients and products as well.
Viva Italia! opens with Hohenstein’s early and rarely seen poster for Fiammiferi senza Fosforo, or sulphur-free matches, of about 1895. It is one of the wildest allegories in all Italian Art Nouveau: while a devilish creature in the foreground is overwhelmed by the stench of sulphur matches, the viewer’s eye is drawn up to an angelic naked woman lighting sulphur-free matches with no ill affect. Rich iridescent color in an interwoven, spiraling composition, it is a uniquely Italian creation, and offers a vivid contrast to the French poster of the period by its classicism and operatic melodrama.
Equally revealing is Giovanni Mataloni’s 1895 poster for a gas lamp, Brevetto Auer. Surrounded by an abbondanza of flowing vines, a scantily clad damsel holds a gas lamp whose light rays reveal a giant sunflower amidst geometric and curvilinear