The intensity of the colours used and the oddity of these prints will hit you at first sight.
I have a thing for vintage lithographic posters. The intensity of the colours used and the oddity of these prints hit me whenever I see them. I think they were effective ways of conveying an advertising message, they were real artworks which aim was that of showing the splendour of a lively period full of innovations and changes.
Lithography was invented in 1798, though it is in the 1880s that scientific progress made it had a real breakthrough, which allowed artists to achieve every color in the rainbow and print attractive posters to be used for modern advertising in the field of consumer products, entertainment, World's Fairs, Colonial Exhibitions as well as in the field of Politics.
Among my favourite poster designers, Italian illustrator Leopoldo Metlicovitz definitely catches my attention for his works' distinctive dramatic style. And it’s not by chance that Italian poster designers hold the first places in my list, they created some of the most iconic lithographic advertising illustrations we can find out there and they made it between 1890 and 1950s (what we consider to be the golden age of advertising illustration).
Leopoldo Metlicovitz was born in Trieste (Italy) in 1868. He was a painter, illustrator, stage designer and advertising artist. Metlicovitz is considered one of the forerunners of Italian Futurism artworks and, together with Leonetto Cappiello, Adolf Hohenstein, Giovanni Maria Mataloni and Marcello Dudovich is one of the fathers of modern Italian poster design. He worked at the apprenticeship in lithography when he was just 14. He gained experience - with his first creations catching attention amongst insiders - and after having successfully completed his trainee, he was hired to work for the most renowned Italian typography of the time, the “Officine G. Ricordi & C.” in Milan. It was 1892 and it was the beginning of the golden period called the Belle Epoque, an era full of positivity, with economic and scientific growth proudly shown off at world fairs. It is no surprise to see how advertising lithography reflects one of the most thriving periods in history, with poster designers being inspired by events of the time. The collaboration between Ricordi and Leopoldo Metlicovitz turned out to be a very prolific one, a 50-year long activity producing hundreds of iconic eye-catching posters embellishing streets walls around the globe.
Leopoldo Metlicovitz, as well as his fellow poster designers of the time, were able to commute marketing ideas into striking art. Accent pieces placed in every boulevard for everyone to see and be influenced by their powerful colours and images. A focal point made to last, used by many people to decorate their homes. A collector’s on-of-a-kind. Vintage advertising posters are indisputably beautiful and that’s the main reason to their survival and great success amongst art collectors, even though their intended creation was as ephemera.
Depending by parameters such as condition, rarity, designer, topic, limited edition, popularity etc. vintage posters can cost a lot of money. However, visiting flea markets could be a great chance to find the deal and take home an accent piece of decoration!