Leonetto Cappiello (1875 - 1942)

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L'Opera Republican
9" x 8"
Up to $350
INV. #:
L'Opera Republican, original Le Rire; 1907; artist: Leonetto Cappiello. Archival linen backed turn of the century image André MESSAGER. And a woman holding up the opera house in their arms. Original. Mounted on acid free archival linen.

"In 1898 when he (Leonetto Cappiello) decided to pay a visit to his older brother who happened to be working for the Paris Stock exchange. Leonetto found Paris exciting, and wanted to stay longer, which meant he had to find a way to support himself. He approached two famous compatriots who happened to be in town, actor Novelli and composer Puccini, asked them to let him sketch their caricatures. They obliged, and Cappiello submitted the drawings to the humor magazine "Le Rire" they were promptly accepted, and were so well received by the public that he became, virtually overnight, the favored artist of the Paris Theatre.

One of the reasons for the reasons for his quick acceptance was that his sketches were never offensive. Usually artists would grossly distort their subjects' features to ridicule them (including Toulouse-Lautrec), Cappiello only used subtle exaggeration to spotlight their outstanding characteristics. For that reason, he was able to do what other artists were not permitted, to sketch some of the foremost ladies (and gentleman) of the stage, who previously would never hear of allowing themselves to be submitted to such treatment. Thereafter Cappiello's drawings were routinely seen in at least a dozen of the many magazines that proliferated in Paris during this era" (Rennert PAI-IX)

One of the magazines asked him to prepare his first poster (Le Frou Frou) for which he used the style of his "Le Rire" work, simple drawing and flat color. From that point on he was inundated with commissions for posters. These early works he did for "Le Rire" were instrumental in the start of his career, and thus their importance to the serious collector cannot be overestimated.