San Francisco’s Finest Flat Iron

History Buffs! Check out this in-depth and fun article on the famous Phelan building of San Francisco.  Lots of information and antique photos to see (posters included!). Makes for a fun little read….

https://medium.com/p/839fe6441405

 

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Spotlight Artist: The Father of Early Art Deco, Leonetto Cappiello

“…my first preoccupation is finding that blotch. That thing which is hard to define, that from a distance, will catch the eye  of a passer-by by the intensity of its color, will tickle and tease him…”   

-Leonetto Cappiello
                    

           Leonetto Cappiello is easily one of the most prolific poster artists of the 20th century, revolutionizing poster art and becoming an innovator in modern marketing strategies. Born in the Italian resort town of Livorno in 1875, Cappiello drew on his early surroundings for inspiration as a young artist. As a young man he began his artistic career as a caricature artist, sketching fellow locals from his town. At the age of 21 a collection of these sketches were published as a booklet titled Lanterna Magica. After visiting his brother in Paris in 1898, Cappiello fell in love with the vibrant artistic metropolis, and decided to join the other poets, writers, and artists of all kind who called it home.

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Cognac Pellisson, 1907. Stone Lithograph.

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Maurin Quina, 1906. Stone Litho. This is one of Cappiello’s earliest pieces that is still fairly accessible. Most of his work printed this early on have largely been picked over, and tend to sell in the $10,000 + range.

While first in Paris, Cappiello initially made a living by continuing his caricature work. He often sketched celebrities and public figures, getting published in magazines and newspapers throughout the city, including the famous satirical Le Rire.   Cappiello’s entrance into posters began when the magazine Le Frou-Frou asked him to prepare a poster. This first poster featured a Can-Can girl, and encapsulated his roots as a caricature artist through its animated features and expressions. As he started to become regularly commissioned for poster work, he began honing his style, each one becoming a bit more brazen than the last.

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Cachou Lajaunie, c. 1920. Stone Lithograph. Cachou Lajaunie is a well-known breath mint company that is still in business today.

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Contratto, 1922. Stone Lithograph.

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Nitrolian, 1929. Stone Lithograph. A poster for a Belgian paint company.

Cappiello’s posters revolutionized the face of graphic design. Stylistically, he would use vibrant, primary colors to pop off of dark or dense backgrounds, while minimizing excessive text and details. His characters were whimsical and eye-catching, and often featured alone or with little “environmental” detail, a stark difference from the Victorian realism scenes that dominated posters before him. The new formula of design was striking, different, and enormously groundbreaking. The world was changing—technology, industrialization, and the growth of cities made everything move at a faster pace. Cappiello’s designs adapted to this change in society, and succeeded in capturing the immediacy and effectiveness of this new brand of marketing.

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Pneu Velo Baudou, 1912. Stone Lithograph.

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Le Nil, 1912. Stone Lithograph. Another famous Cappiello image, this poster advertises a cigarette rolling paper that was marketed as “tougher than an elephant’s hide.”

He put to test a theory of the ‘arabesque,’ one simple image and a brand name could resonate with viewers for quite a while if it was the right combination. Mischievous demons, dancing animals, ephereal genies and fairies—these were the new mascots for companies. More often than not, Cappiello showed no sight of the actual product in his posters. It was no longer the bottles and packages that spoke for the products, but rather the intoxicating characters that spilled from the artists’ mind onto paper. Cappiello saw to it that this was his legacy: “I search for the arabesque; it occupies my days and nights,” said Cappiello in an interview in the early 1900’s. “When I conceive a new poster project, my first preoccupation is finding that blotch. That thing which is hard to define, that from a distance, will catch the eye  of a passer-by by the intensity of its color, will tickle and tease him with its various shades and hold his attention long enough thanks to its pleasing aspect to force him to read the poster.”

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Cognac Monnet, 1927. Stone Lithograph. Quite literally, “..the sun in a glass..”

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Bitter Campari, 1921. Stone Lithograph. Arguably one of Cappiello’s most iconic images of all time, Campari used this graphic for decades.

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Mossant, 1938. Color Lithograph. One of Cappiello’s last posters he ever designed.

During his career as a poster artist Cappiello primarily worked with two printers, Vercasson from 1900-1916 and then Devambez from 1919-1937. With those houses, it is thought that Cappiello created close to 1,000 posters, for some of the largest and most successful companies in the world. A superstar even while he was alive, his posters have been collected and revered over a century now, making his work some of the most sought after and quickly appreciating posters on the market today.

All posters seen above are available for purchase through Vintage European Posters. Please email posters.gallery@gmail.com or call (808) 662-8688 to inquire further details.

The Travel Posters of Mid-Century Illustrator, Stan Galli

In 1917, at just five years old, American artist and illustrator Stanley Walter Galli began his lifelong art career after receiving his first watercolor set as a gift from his mother. Galli grew up in the bay area of California where he attended children’s art classes in San Francisco.  In middle school, after getting into trouble one too many times for his incessant ‘doodling,’ his seventh grade teacher assuredly declared, “You’re going to art school!”

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Stan Galli, courtesy of Marin Independent Journal (Published May, 2009)

And art school, he went.  After high school, Galli worked a number of oddball jobs during the Great Depression, nickel and diming his way through young adulthood in order to save money to pay for tuition.  Attending the California School of Fine Arts, Galli gained notoriety for his painting, drawing, and printing skills, leading to his recruitment as a staff artist by Patterson and Hall Advertising Agency.

In the early 1940’s, Galli lent his artistic hand to the war efforts where he illustrated training manuals for the U.S. Navy, putting his career with the agency on hold.  After the dust of the war settled, Galli left his native California to seek out work as an illustrator in New York.  Described by his late wife as a “man of direction,” he successfully and quickly won commissions from several national magazines, including the Ladies Home Journal and the mid-century illustrator’s beloved The Saturday Evening Post, where he worked and became lifelong friends with co-illustrators Stevan Dohanos and Jack Dumas. Perhaps the biggest recognition in his career, however, came when he scored a job doing an advertising campaign for Weyerhaeuser Co., in which he designed and produced 26 wildlife postage stamps, two of them becoming award winning. This was the first instance of Galli showing his talents as a wildlife artist, a genre of art he proudly wore on his sleeve for the remainder of his life.

In addition to his stamp designs and publications, Galli is also considered a superstar in the American advertising world, most famous for his United Airline travel posters in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  An avid traveler himself, it was customary for the Galli clan to pack up and spend their summers somewhere, anywhere, outside of Northern California, a tradition that translates into his pieces.  His use of light colors, solid form, and charming situations accentuate the feel of mid-century prosperity and values and the classic Americana aesthetic. While North America used a great deal of posters, their legacy in our culture has never developed as strongly as they did in Europe.  Poster artists and their works go a bit more unrecognized, as posters didn’t survive in as large of quantities and references weren’t as fully recorded. Galli, however, has surpassed that obstacle. He is collected today as one of the leading travel poster artists, as well as a pillar of mid-century graphic design.

Stan Galli died in 2009 in his home in Marin County, California. He was survived by his wife of 63 years, an artist herself, two sons, and numerous grandchildren. He was 97 years young.

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Most of these posters are available at Vintage European Posters, but feel free to inquire about any–you never know if we can find one for you!

Women in Posters

Posters have a funny little way of being far more than just what meets the eye.  When you begin to scratch the surface, you’ll realize that they tell a story. As the world’s earliest marketing tools, each and every poster was commissioned and designed with a meticulous amount of care and motive—a well-thought out way to reach out, appeal to, and subtly sway the minds of the people in a relatable, relevant, and universal way. They are direct representations of their exact time periods, little windows into both the fleeting and enduring trends in business, art, fashion, technology, politics, and culture in general. Today, posters are an excellent way to  follow along a bit of history—the chronological progress and evolution of the world encapsulated in single sheets of paper.

As the world recognized International Women’s Day this week, it got me thinking: Women in Posters. The last 100+ year long journey for women hasn’t always been easy or fair, but it’s a history that can’t be denied or avoided. Due to their nature, posters, marketing, and media played a large part in perpetuating as well as breaking certain stereotypes in women’s history. With help from some of our inventory, take a quick look at a few of these pivotal moments.

One of the earliest breakthroughs in women’s history started with an advancement in transportation and technology.
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In the late 19th century, cycling innovators produced the very first ‘safety bicycle,’ featuring steerable front wheels, chain drives, and pneumatic tires for the first time.  This new and improved model transformed the bicycle into a usable and safe method of everyday transportation, enough so that they started marketing them towards women—a very excited, eager and previously disenfranchised demographic.

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Posters helped push the idea of women’s liberation into the mainstream as they influenced more and more women to join into the two-wheel revolution. Like the “Peugeot,” “Gladiator,” and “Humber” pieces featured above, many cycling posters from the late 1800’s and early 1900’s depict images of proper Victorian women as they had never been seen before: carefree, strong, mobile, and independent from men.

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Another common theme to see at the time were groundbreaking posters such as Pal’s “Liberator” which portrayed female cyclists in a far more heroic and masculine way. Characters such as knights and warriors helped toss the ‘normal’ public concept of a delicate woman dressed in lace and jewels right out the window.

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Another pivotal moment for women in history came during World War I.  With nearly 65 million men from around the world sent off to battle, women were left to uphold a chaotic society.  The women of the war, particularly the nurses, became some of the most beloved figures, revered for their good deeds, bravery, and endurance.

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Cappiello’s “La Croix Soleil” transforms an advertisement for medical bandages into what looks more like a religious icon.  Draped in white and graced with a beam of light above her head, Cappiello has exalted the ordinary nurse into something more extraordinary: a spiritual, healing, and magnanimous figure.
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In the evocative and famous Red Cross poster “The Greatest Mother in the World,” a nurse is presented as ‘larger than life.’ Women weren’t just seen as mothers to their own children anymore; they had become mothers to the soldiers, the ill, the poor, the orphans, and every other group plighted by the war. For the first time ever, women in women’s professions were held above all.

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With the weight of the war off it’s shoulders, the world made its way into the 1920’s and 30’s, a ‘guilded’ age with an abundance of energy, excess, and passion. Women’s Suffrage movements made way throughout Europe and North America, and society, culture, business, and marketing began to change and boom.  Women became the targeted demographic and focal point for many of the world’s largest companies, as their equal rights made them more viable consumers, as well as a force to be appealed to.

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A great example of the mid-twenties ‘Epicurean’ energy and personality is Henry Le Monnier’s “La Chablisienne” from 1926. This woman is the quintessential free-spirit, literally standing on top of the world, a beautifully classic and festive figure adorned with the riches of nature.
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Also exuding the decadence, lavishness, and ‘power of the feminine’ is Delval’s “Fap Anis,” featuring famous socialite and actress Gaby De Lys. An icon of the time, De Lys was known for her fast-paced way of life: extravagant parties in the south of France, much-talked about affairs with princes and politicians, and a gifted string of pearls rumored to be worth around one million dollars today.
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World War II solidified women’s place in the workforce. The demographic changes with troops being sent off to war, leading many factory jobs to be filled by female workers. By the end of the war, it was extremely common to see women in positions of heavy industry. The myth of the ‘frail, incapable woman’ that had been diminishing slowly prior to the 40’s, was now completely dismissed.
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One of the most iconic posters to come out of this era is the famed and illustrative “Rosie the Riveter,” however not everyone has seen the earlier and similarly evocative piece, “We Can’t Win Without Them.”

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A lot of marketing in the 1950’s clearly shows the attempt to get women back into the houses and kitchens after their time in the workforce during the war. A far cry from pre-war liberality and attitude, posters featuring women from the 1950’s often tilt to the side of wholesome beauty and cheerfulness.

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Thibesart’s “Liebig” and Gino Boccasile’s “Olio Radino” both depict images of the ideal mid-century woman. Beautiful, smiling, and maternal, they’re positive and jovial women of the family and community.

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Into the late second half of the century, the “modern” woman was born. Fighting the stereotype of the typical 1950’s housewife, the women of the last 50 years have progressively been gaining success in business and every other faction of industry that had previously shut the doors on them.  Contemporary poster artists Rene Gruau, Bernard Villemot, and Razzia have built much of their success on best representing their muses: the beautiful, sophisticated, successful, and glamorous woman of the new era.

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All posters in stock at Vintage European Posters. Please call (808) 662-8688 or email at vintageeuropeanposters.blog@gmail.com to inquire.

Spotlight Artist: Energetic Dreamer and Craftsman Hans Erni

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Artist Hans Erni in Switzerland.

At 106 years old, Swiss living-legend Hans Erni continues to procure an immense and prolific volume of work in the arts, creating for himself one of the most enduring and adaptive careers in the industry.

Born in Lucerne, Switzerland, Erni garnered his first apprenticeship in his early teenage years as a measurement technician where he familiarized himself with machinery and engineering, a skillset that, throughout his career, would prove to be instrumental.

It was during these pivotal years in public school that Erni was introduced to art literature, peaking his interest in a more creative direction.  After 12 years of public schooling and apprenticeships, Erni decided to pursue his career as a professional artist, and enrolled himself in The School of Arts and Crafts of Lucerne in 1927, and later the Academie Julien in Paris. In the early 1930’s, Erni moved to Berlin where he studied at United Stately College for Free and Applied Art in Berlin under the renowned Swiss art historian Heinrich Wolfflin.  Wolfflin became one of Erni’s earliest and most important influences and mentors, helping the artist mold and define his art philosophy and aesthetic during this critical period.

As the decade inched onward, Erni finished his schooling and continued to travel throughout western Europe, where his career began to blossom.  Doing freelance out of his own studio, Erni started winning art competitions, participating in art collaborations and collectives, and rubbing elbows with some of Paris’ best contemporary artists, such as Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque, both of whom have proven to be the artists’ most visible influences.

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“Croix Rouge – Cent Ans Au Service de l’Humanite” by Hans Erni, 1962. Erni designed and printed this poster for the Swiss Red Cross. Email or call the gallery for purchase inquiries.

By the middle of the 20th century, Erni had made a name and career for himself. His body of work consists of sculptures, paintings, murals, tapestries, and postage stamps, many of which he produced for his homeland of Switzerland and its various commercial purposes.

His style is clear and recognizable; thematically, much of his work represents contemporary culture, including nature, peace, athletics, health, and heritage. Stylistically, Erni had a unique way of marrying certain qualities of classical and abstract art, as well as linear geometry. Much of his work ultimately rendered “machine”-like qualities, a sense of movement, energy, durability, and a technical value that can’t be missed. With astonishing work ethic and tirelessness, Erni worked for the better part of a century without ever falling behind in relevance. He became an ever-evolving craftsman, not only learning new principles of art as they emerged but forging them into his own.

Interviewed in 2012, Erni said “I’m a dreamer. Dreams are necessary because a man who only stays within his reality and is not able to step forward from that is, in a way, already dead.  Dreams involve stepping into a new world, into what you could achieve.” (Bob Taylor, Washington Times)

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The Circus is in Town!

For over a century, modern circuses have played on the fantasies and imagination of the common man. Across the world, adults, children and families alike have been drawn to these bustling events and the chance at escaping the bores of every day reality, seeking instead laughter that only a clown could elicit, the thrills of trapeze artists flying above them, and the delight of seeing an exotic animal or jaw-dropping sideshow.  For weeks leading up to caravan into town and the big tent events, posters lining street sides and fences fed these fantasies with bright colors, bold images and the dazzling promise of excitement, wonder, adventure, and innovation. Today, circus’ have been frozen in time due to many of the posters that have survived around the world, solidifying such a rich history and enduring nostalgic present.

Check out some of our new supply! Call the gallery (808) 662-8688 or email us at vintageeuropeanposters.blog@gmail.com to inquire!

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Figuier, c. 1930

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Billy Smart’s Circus, 1956

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, 1973

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presenting William Heyer, 1940’s

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Rover, c. 1938

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Cole Bros. Circus “Boxing Horses,” c. 1940

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Al G. Kelly & Miller Bros. Circus, c. 1950

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Polack Bros. Circus, c. 1950

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Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, 1942-1944

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Polack Bros. Circus, c. 1950

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Polack Bros. Circus, c. 1950

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King Bros. Circus, c. 1946

Christmas à la Saturday Evening Post

Take a stroll down memory lane and see some timeless illustrations fr0m Christmas’ long ago! All available at Vintage European Posters. For inquiries please contact us at vintageeuropeanposters.blog@gmail.com or call (808) 662-8688.

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By George Hughes, December 25th, 1954

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By Amos Sewell, December 11th, 1954

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By Mayan, December 18th, 1954

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By John Falter, December 6th, 1952