Monday, September 29, 2008

Selling Pasta Artfully

This circa 1901-1904 lithographed French advertising poster takes selling macaroni to a new level. The people depicted were France's most famous actors and actresses, three of whom had won the legendary Legion Of Honor, France's highest decoration, established by Napoleon Bonaparte. Among those pictured are Jane Hading (1859-1933) who started her career in Algiers and Cairo at 14, toured America at 29 and was one of the leading actresss of the United States, France and Britian; Coquelin Aine (1841-1904) and Coquelin Cadet (1846-1909), highly accomplished brothers, the elder of whom toured the U.S. with Sarah Bernhardt and appeared on Broadway; Michel Baron (1653-1729), such a sensation at 12, the king granted him his own company. He went on to be the "undisputed master of the French stage"; Mounet-Sully (1841-1916) known best for his portrayal of Oedipus; Gabrielle Rejane (1856-1920), a great rival of Sarah Bernhardt, she was thought to possess rare emotional gifts. The caliber of the actors depicted is so high, it would be the same to see Bette Davis, James Stewart, Clint Eastwood, Humphrey Bogart, Charlton Heston, Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Kirk Douglas, Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Ingrid Bergman and Audrey Hepburn striking a pose for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Actually, that could be a great ad!

Regardless, this ad is eye-catching in composition and color, especially the use of brown for the background, as it is a color that stimulates the appetite and conveys wholesomeness. A few of the people are holding boxes of assorted pasta products, which are visible but subtle - nicely done! It was created by artist Leonetto Cappiello (1875-1942) and the lithograph poster was printed in Paris by P. Vercasson & Cie.

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