Depero’s “super bold” advertisements

In the early 1920s, Fortunato Depero and his House of Futurist Art began an intense activity in the field of advertisement (which the artist would not quit until the 1950s, also because it provided him with an indispensable source of income).

Just in that first decade, Depero churned out a huge number of billboards, flyers, posters, labels, newspaper ads and so on.

His style was an instant success, with his talent for synthesis and streamlined graphics making Art Nouveau’s flourishes appear cumbersome and outdated.

The I.I.I. advertisement company Depero collaborated with once gave this bombastic description of his work: “Looking at one of the Trentino-born artist’s billboards, passersby stop with a cry of surprise. His palette stops us in our tracks as if someone was poking us in the eye. His drawings are an invitation to take a minute to meditate – exactly what is required to capture the public’s attention. His concepts are accessible and absurd at the same time. A Depero billboard cannot be glanced at distractedly, and will never be forgotten after that first look…”

Depero himself, with avant-gardist superlatives, described his works in advertisement as “most futuristic”, “super-bold” and “modernist”. Claiming his billboards were “unsurpassed creations”, “the most brilliant and violent” of his time, and generated “numerous imitations”, he therefore urged clients to “Only hire the real Depero” (quotations translated from Maurizio Scudiero, “Depero. L’uomo e l’artista”, Egon, Rovereto 2009).

Photos via: Photos via: ©Eredi Depero, ©Archivio Depero, ©Casa d’Arte futurista Depero

Fortunato Depero pubblicità - advertisement

Richard Ginori, 1923, chromolithographic poster, Turin, private collection

Fortunato Depero pubblicità - advertisement

Cicli Bianchi, 1924-25, collage, Milan, Fonte d'Abisso Arte

Fortunato Depero pubblicità - advertisement

Dischi Pathé, 1924, collage, Milan, private collection

Fortunato Depero pubblicità - advertisement

Biscotto Unica, 1927, India ink, private collection, Fondazione Musei civici di Venezia

Fortunato Depero pubblicità - advertisement

"Uova sorpresa" Unica, 1927, chromolithography, Archivio Depero

"Buona Pasqua" Unica, 1927, chromolithography, Archivio Depero

Fortunato Depero pubblicità - advertisement

Magnesia S. Pellegrino, 1928-30, chromolithography, New York, Massimo&Sonia Cirulli Archive

Fortunato Depero pubblicità - advertisement

Magnesia S. Pellegrino, 1928-30, chromolithography, New York, Massimo&Sonia Cirulli Archive

Fortunato Depero pubblicità - advertisement

Liquore Strega, 1929, collage, private collection

Fortunato Depero pubblicità - advertisement

On the left, Strega, 1928, collage, Rovereto, private collection; on the right, Liquore Strega, 1928, collage, Valenza, private collection

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