Virtuoso artists tend to leave their calling cards. The waves they make are generally very traceable to a specific source–themselves. Often the personality involved becomes an integral part of the impact of the work. The economics as well as the ego of craftsmanship would seem to call for that high profile.
In the trade of vintage poster art, however, it was often advantageous not to sign a tableau. Most of the most productive posterists were under contract to produce the works of a specific publishing firm and thereby they were forced to forego working for another publisher. Many of them got around that constriction by leaving their (illegal) works for printers, other than those paying them premiums for staying in line, without a suable name. (Another ruse was to use a string of pseudonyms.)
As we’ll proceed to show, there was nothing second rate about much of the poster output missing a creator’s name. Our first instance is not only fabulously composed and colored; but it shows a vigorous talent for propaganda, if not fascinating, historically arresting jingoism. It’s the era of the Italian invasion of Ethiopia, and the imperial imperative is at full tide. Continue reading