At the end of the XIX Century, the use of advertising posters exploded. These forms of advertisement were not just intended to market a product – like it is for nowadays’ posters -, they were real artworks which aim was that of showing the splendor of a lively and full of innovations period. This is what the Belle Époque was all about: the Golden Age of economic growth. To this remarkable period of prosperity, we owe most of the discoveries and technological innovations that changed our lives for the better. Not just innovation in the field of technology and silence, we owe to this era also the amazing creation of Art Nouveau style in all decorative arts, such as interior design objects, as well figurative arts like architecture, paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture. Thanks to art collectors across the globe, that generously opt to donate their collections to museums, artworks can be accessible to the public. I consider this as a true gift, one of the most generous of its kind coming from a human being towards his/her fellow men.
Ferdinando Salce (1878 – 1962) was one of the most influential Italian collectors of its time. He had a strong passion for collecting oddities and more ordinary stuff like bottle caps, matchboxes, special menus ect. He also loved to collect advertising posters, almost 25,000 pieces were gathered between 1885 and 1962. Among these artworks there are posters signed by famous artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Mataloni, Cappiello, Mauzan, Boccasile, Sironi, Dudovich and to name only a few.
Today, the amazing collection of Nando Salce is property of Italian Government, luckily gifted by the collector before his death, and stored in the Museo Nazionale Collezione Salce in Treviso, in the Veneto region. With 24’580 affiches artistiques, the advertising posters' collection is the second most important assortment of its kind in Europe after that of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.
A selection of 300 artworks, made by the most prominent advertising posters’ stars of the Belle Époque era, will exhibit in the Museo Nazionale Collezione Salce in Treviso until October the 1st. The purpose of the exhibition is to give an overview of the daily life during the Belle Époque and the contribution of this form of art in creating that symbol of progress, innovation and prosperity still noticed and perceived.
These 300 posters concern various topics: café chantants, horse racing, champagne and liquors, distilleries, fashion houses, insurance companies, excursions, cruises etc. They are an evidence of how shopping wasn’t just a simple action yet an experience, a visual one.
These advertising posters overlaid cities such as Milan and Turin during the Belle Èpoque and soon became popular and loved.
These big colourful images and many more are exposed at the Museo Nazionale Collezione Salce’s exhibition. The skaters of Jules Chéret, the dancers of Leonetto Cappiello, the precious figures of Alfonse Mucha, the stylish ladies of Terzi, Villa and Mazza … It is undeniable that the Belle Epoque was the Golden Age of advertising poster! And this exhibit is not to be missed.