When the Italian Ministry of Agriculture sent Giuseppe Palanti (Milan, 1881-1946) to Paris, he was still a student at Brera’s Academy, enrolled in the Scuola degli Artefici – more focused on practical craftsmanship and applied arts than on theoretical studies. It was 1900, and 19-year-old Palanti was asked to attend the Expo in Paris. He did so with great enthusiasm, and claimed to have been most impressed by the pavilion dedicated to advertisement posters.
The experience was crucial in the eclectic artist’s education, who would soon start a career expanding over multiple fields, from commercial art to illustration for theater and fashion, from furniture decoration to painting.
A few years after his trip to Paris, Palanti – who had started teaching composition in the same school he had graduated from in the meantime – designed a series of postcards for a new Expo, to be held in Milan from April 28 to November 11, 1906, where Parco Sempione is now and the military Parade Ground used to be.
The 1906 Milan International was focused on transportation, and attracted over 4 million visitors – a stellar figure at the time.
This is how Palanti saw Milan’s Expo, 99 years ago.