Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942) was born in Livorno, Italy. Leonetto Cappiello had no formal training. In 1898, he decided to visit Paris, and immediately fell in love with the city and decided to stay. He did two sketch caricatures of his compatriots, the actor Novelli and the composer Puccini and submitted them to “Le Rire,” a popular humour magazine. They wre accepted, and he became an overnight sensation. His career for “Le Rire,” earned him resulted in his first poster commission and by in 1900 his posters were in high demand. Leonetto Cappiello was influenced by Cheret, but anticipating a more modern approach to poster design, his work incorporated a sophisticated simplification which abstracted from unnecessary details, and concentrating on a dynamic composition.
In fact, his was the first posters that recorded the quickening pace of life in the streets as the new era of automobiles took hold. Leonetto Cappiello is called “The Father of modern advertising,” and his posters exhibited a profound understanding of the subtle communication techniques. For instance his famous 1894 design for Absinthe Parisienne by P. Gélis-Didot and Louis Malteste depicts a coyisherotic message, subtilely suggesting in its text “Bois donc, tu verras après…” (Drink – then you’ll see…) .An overly self-assured male character, based on Molière’s comic doctor Diafoirus, is enticing an apparently chaste redhead, whose body language projects a pretense to innocence.
Cappiello’s portraits and posters were mischievous, cheerful and uncommon. His compositions were strong, harmonious and balanced. Because of his minimalism approach, Cappiello was able to produce nearly 1000 posters in his time.