Galleria Campari, a taste for art in advertising
Milan’s Galleria Campari tells the story of a historical Italian brand that is known all over the world. It’s a story that began in the second half of the 19th century, when Lombard entrepreneur Gaspare Campari founded his namesake company in 1860 and created a drink that would soon become an international must.
The bittersweet red nectar, produced according to a super-secret recipe, undoubtedly became one of the most famous symbols of the 1900s – its fame certainly supported by the charming creativity great artists of the time lent to the company.
The Gallery opened in 2010 and showcases placards, advertisements, original posters, books published throughout the 20th century, cinema and TV commercials, and design objects: an extraordinary collection of memorabilia that includes pieces by iconic artists from Marcello Dudovich to Federico Fellini, from Fortunato Depero to Bruno Munari, from Leonetto Cappiello to Guido Crepax, from Franz Marangolo to Ugo Nespolo, to mention but a few.
In this sense, ad man and art critic Dino Villani’s comment is illuminating:
It would be pointless to search for a stylistic strategy in Campari advertisement, in terms of graphics or taste. Campari worked with artists with the most different character and most various themes; he had copy jotted down by nobodies or written by famous authors, making them almost compete to bring out the features of Bitter and Cordial Campari in different – or better yet, new – ways. No one ever pulled back from this ongoing competition, because by then working for Campari had come to be considered an honor (translated from G. Cenzato, “Campari, 1860-1960”, Edizioni Campari, Milan 1960).
Welcome to the Galleria.
Photo © Marco Curatolo