From Depero to Rotella: Italian Commercial Posters Between Advertising and Art at Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA), February 16 – June 10, 2023

“The Center for Italian Modern Art (CIMA) announces a new exhibition ‘From Depero to Rotella: Italian Commercial Posters Between Advertising and Art’ from February 16th to June 10th, 2023 at its Soho exhibition and research center. The show examines the cross-pollination between avant-garde art and commercial posters in Italy, with a particular focus on the interwar years and the early post-World War II era, during the country’s economic boom.

The exhibition includes over 30 posters from major Italian institutions and corporate collections, as well as a few select private collections in the United States. Among the artists featured: Erberto Carboni, Fortunato Depero, Nikolai Diulgheroff, Lucio Fontana, Max Huber, Bruno Munari, Marcello Nizzoli, Bob Noorda, Giovanni Pintori, Xanti Schawinsky, Mario Sironi, and Albe Steiner. The works of these individuals illustrated the products of companies that made the history of the Italian economy, such as Barilla, Campari, Olivetti, Fiat, Pirelli.” — Center for Italian Modern Art

Nikolay Diulgheroff. Amaro Cora, 1928. Lithograph, 78 x 55 in (198.1 x 139.7 cm). Merrill C. Berman Collection.
Enrico Prampolini. Théâtre Champs-Elysées. Opéra Italien, 1929. Lithograph on paper, mounted on linen, 28 1/2 x 23 in (72.4 x 58.4 cm). Merrill C. Berman Collection.
Xanti (Alexander) Schawinsky. Illy Caffè, 1934. Lithograph on paper,55 1/8 x 39 1/2 in (140 x 100.3 cm). Merrill C. Berman Collection.
Mario Sironi. L’Ambrosiano Edizione del Pomeriggio, 1934. Off. G. Ricordi & C., Milano. Lithograph backed on linen, 55.5 x 77.5 in., Boston MA
Xanti (Alexander) Schawinsky. Olivetti MP1 Portable (ico), 1935. Lithograph, 21 3/8 x 14 in (54.3 x 35.6 cm). Merrill C. Berman Collection.
Armando Testa. Pirelli, 1954-c. 1980. Arti Grafiche Pirovano. Offset print, 39 3/8 x 27 1/2 in (100 x 70 cm). Gemma De Angelis Testa Collection.
GiVi (Giuseppe Vincenti). Watt Radio, 1931. Stabilimento Poligrafico Roggero & Tortia, Torino. Chromolithograph on paper, 99.8 x 70.6 cm. Direzione Regionale Musei Veneto – Museo Collezione Salce Treviso. Su concessione del Ministero della Cultura.

Nicola Lucchi, curator of the exhibition, explains that “while poster art has often been described as derivative in character, the show will demonstrate how, from Futurism onwards, Italian posters acquired a visual and communicative force that elevated the medium to a form of artistic expression in its own right, pushing the boundaries of lithographic techniques, photomontage, and typography. The commercial posters’ peculiar ambition to deliver alluring forms and contents to the masses, rather than to an elite circle, also make them an object of socioeconomic and philosophical interest”.

Images courtesy Center for Italian Modern Art.