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Saturday, 7 February 2015

The Early Art of Olivetti

According to Olivetti 1908-1958 (by Giorgio Soavi, published by Ing C.Olivetti & C SpA, Ivrea, October 1958) it was in 1913 (not 1912) that, "As the commercial organisation of the Olivetti company expands, its first advertising posters appear, designed by the Venetian painter Teodoro Wolf Ferrari." This poster by Wolf Ferarri is for the Olivetti M1.
Teodoro Wolf Ferrari was born in Venice on June 29, 1878, the son of painter August Wolf and Emilia Ferrari and the brother of musician Ermanno Wolf Ferrari. A disciple Guglielmo Ciardi, Pietro Fragiacomo and Millo Bortoluzzi, Wolf Ferrari studied at the Academy of Venice. In 1896 he went to Monaco in Bavaria, where he came in contact with the group Die Scholle, a cultural movement open to influences and innovation in open confrontation with the tradition, through the Art Nouveau Jugendstil. In 1902 Wolf Ferrari took part in the Turin international exhibition for the decorative arts, and in Venice in 1904 in the competition for the Manifesto Grand'Hotel of Italy. In 1908 he decorated the Cafe Santa Margherita and the Grande Stabilimento Bagni al Lido in Venice. He collaborated with Vittorio Zecchin in the applied arts and in particular in the glass for the firm Barovier. At Ca 'Pesaro in Venice he put together an exhibition of 52 works, which he moved to Stockholm and Hanover in 1913. In 1913 and in 1915 he took part in exhibitions of the Secession in Rome and in 1912 and 1914 at the Venice Biennale. In 1919 he was among the founders of the Young Artists of Venice. In 1924 he was sent by Vittorio Emanuele III to Libya, where he painted a series of 32 works in oil on colonial subjects. Back in Italy, Wolf Ferrari spent the rest of his life between Venice and San Zeno Ezzelini, devoting himself to painting landscapes. He died in San Zeno Ezzelini on January 27, 1945, aged 66.
This 1923 poster, promoting the Olivetti M20, is the work of Giovanni Pirovano, not Ernesto Pirovano, as has been generally stated. Ernesto was an architect, not a painter; Giovanni was a landscape artist of some note. The signature at the top left of the Olivetti poster proves it was the work of Giovanni Pirovano, born in Milan in 1880. Compare it with the signature on the landscape below.
In 1905 Giovanni Pirovano abandoned management of his family's textile business to become a pupil of the Cesare Tall√≥ne Accademia di Brera in Milan, of which he later became an honorary member. He devoted himself to the framework of the figure, still life and landscape, genres in which he preferred views of Brianza and Valtellina. He ranged from oil painting to pastel and watercolor. His works testify to a loyalty to the tradition of Lombard Naturalism. Pirovano died in 1959.
These two M20 posters, from 1926, are by Marcello Dudovich, born in Trieste on March 21, 1878. Inspired by Edward Penfield, by his friend and teacher Adolfo Hohenstein and by Alphonse Mucha, Dudovich became a renowned Italian painter, illustrator and poster designer. Together with Leonetto Cappiello, Adolfo Hohenstein, Giovanni Maria Mataloni and Leopoldo Metlicovitz, Dudovich is considered one of the progenitors of Italian poster design. 
He moved from Trieste to Milan in 1897 after attending a professional art school. He was recruited as a lithographer by Ricordi, a music publisher, thanks to his father's friendship with the illustrator and cartoonist Leopoldo Metlicovitz, and was given charge of advertisement design. In 1899 he transferred to Bologna, working there for the publisher Edmondo Chappuis in designing billboards, book covers and illustrations for publications such as Italia Ride in 1900 and Fantasio in 1902. In 1900 he won a gold medal at the Paris World's Fair.
In 1905 Duduvich returned to Milan to rejoin Ricordi and designed some of his best known posters, including "Mele di Napoli". 
In the 1920s he made several posters for the Milan department store La Rinascente, and in 1922 he was appointed artistic director of Igap. In 1930 he designed a prominent poster for Pirelli. After the Second World War he moved away from the world of commercial art, concentrating instead on his painting. Dudovich died in Milan from a cerebral hemorrhage on March 31, 1962, 10 days after his 84th birthday. 
Some other notable Dudovich works:


Richard P said...

Beautiful posters. Why isn't there advertising like this anymore?

That Wolf Ferrari poster represents Dante, doesn't it?

Bill M said...

Wonderful advertising art. It is the kind that can be displayed on the wall. Could you imagine displaying any of moder ads? They just do not do things as wonderfully as they used to do them.

TonysVision said...

These are wonderful. Thanks for digging them out for us.

Taylor Harbin said...

Stunning artwork. The kinds of products people buy and the ads that sell them show what's considered "fashionable."

Richard, there's a good ad on Youtube for the Remington Quiet Riter. It tells you what it is, what it does, and why you should buy it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Compare that to Ford's recent ad campaign during the "Summer Saving Spectacular" where they dressed up their car commercial like a cheesy prime time drama.

Donald Lampert said...

We've, as a culture, lost that sense of a hand done, crafted, work of personal creativity! Today it's so much photoshop/CAD that anybody can do with the click of a mouse. The templates are kind of all the same, rather than one of a kind creations.
Schools aren't generally focusing on teaching the arts as a foundation of who we are, so we don't even have the basic artistic sensibilities that we once did.
We've become a dreary Walmart culture of the cheap and mass produced overseas.
Thanks Robert, it's great to remember what we have done!
In certain circles though, it is starting to turn around

Anonymous said...

Love it!