Italian Poster Masterpieces Revisited at International Poster Gallery International Poster Gallery celebrates its 15th anniversary on Newbury Street with a dazzling selection of posters from its world-leading collection of Italian masterpieces.
News-Antique.com - Apr 29,2009 - BOSTON – International Poster Gallery celebrates its 15th anniversary on Newbury Street with a dazzling selection of posters from its world-leading collection of Italian masterpieces. This thematic exhibition assembles rare and beautiful posters, with subjects including opera, travel, food and beverage, transportation and propaganda. The show is free and open to the public and will be on view May 15 through July 5, 2009. 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.
In 1995, International Poster Gallery premiered the first major gallery retrospective of vintage Italian posters in the U.S., “The Italian Poster Rediscovered.” Reflecting gallery owner Jim Lapides’ fascination with Italian art, the exhibition helped to establish the lesser-known Italian poster alongside the best poster art of France, Switzerland and Germany. Fifteen years later, the gallery once again celebrates the rare and increasingly popular Italian poster with this special anniversary exhibition.
The best-known Italian posters advertise one of Italy’s most distinctive cultural institutions - the opera. Oversized, richly melodramatic and explosively colorful, the opera poster captures the very essence of the Italian spirit. The exhibition headliner, Sogno d’un Valzer, or Dream Waltz of 1910 by Leopoldo Metlicovitz was created to promote the operetta of the same name. It is known as one of the most romantic and passionate posters of all time, and is a classic example of Italian Art Nouveau. An officer and his lady dance a waltz while a violinist plays intently. The poignant message of “love lost” is clear when one realizes that the officer is but a specter fading into the poster’s misty background.
The emotional intensity of Metlicovitz’s poster and its deep, rich color is matched by Adolfo Hohenstein’s 1899 Tosca, a 10-foot high tour de force that depicts the dramatic climax of Puccini’s opera. Bathed in a sea of red blood and dark shadows, this poster perfectly echoes the passion and spectacle of the Italian opera. Hohenstein, a German-born production designer, came to La Scala in the 1870s to design sets and costumes. As the director and artistic master of the Ricordi printing operation, Hohenstein saw a meteoric rise as the unlikely “father of the Italian poster”.
A lesser-known but spectacular opera poster features one of the most extraordinary lithographic color harmonies in the genre. Metlicovitz’s oversized 1907 Giulio Marchetti, advertising a comic opera company, presents the iridescent jade-green of the subject’s robes against a lush grape background. This recently-acquired rarity was the first Italian masterpiece sold at the gallery 15 years ago, and this exhibition marks the first time it has appeared on the market since then.
The show also features a premier lineup of transportation posters – advertising ocean liners, automobiles and airlines. Highlighting this category is Giuseppe Riccobaldi’s Fiat Rampa, 1928. Italy's leading automobile manufacturer, Fiat recruited the greatest names in Italian poster art to bring excitement to the brand. Riccobaldi, who began