In Part One, the origins of postcards of the Art Nouveau period in Italy, known as Stile Liberty, were examined. Specifically, the postcards of Leone Cappiello and Marcello Dudovich were featured. In Part Two, Dudovich is revisited, and two other postcard artists of the Stile Liberty movement are discussed.
In addition to being a designer of postcards, Dudovich was also a skilled painter and illustrator, and these talents are demonstrated in Figure #1. This is not an advertising postcard but rather an artist signed fine art rendering. The design incorporated many Art Nouveau themes.
Another illustrator and postcard designer who like Dudovich hailed from the city of Trieste was Leopoldo Metlicovitz. As a youth, Metlicovitz moved to Udine in northern Italy where he spent fourteen years mastering the art of lithography. An example of a Metlicovitz glamor art postcard is shown in Figure #2.
Eventually, Metlicovitz’s work caught the eye of Giulio Ricordi whose family owned the publishing company Casa Ricordi. Casa Ricordi was a diverse printing business and published music, postcards and periodicals including the popular magazines La Gazzetta Musicale and Musica e Musicisti. While with Casa Ricordi, Meticovitz developed a passion for the opera and began a successful career as a stage and costume designer for the opera house, La Scala. Fortunately for collectors, Metlicovitz continued to design postcards. Combining his talent in graphic art and his love for the opera, Metlicovitz produced a number of illustrated postcards with operatic themes. The card shown in Figure #3 features a scene from Giacomo Pussini’s opera Madame Butterfly. This card was published by G. Ricordi as #219 and sells for about $70.
In view if the popularity of opera in Italy, it is not surprising that other Italian Art Nouveau postcard artists chose operatic subjects to illustrate. One such artist was Adolfo Hohenstein, often referred to as the founder of the Stile Liberty movement in Italy. Born in Russia to German parents, Hohenstein traveled to Milan to work at the Ricordi Graphical Workshop. While there, he created posters and postcards for numerous operas including La Boheme, Tosca and Falstaff. Shown in Figure #4 is a signed illustrated postcard for the lesser known opera, Iris, written by Pietro Mascagni and first performed in Rome in 1898.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Expositions were a popular form of entertainment as well as a way to educate the general public about new advances in science and technology. In 1899, the city of Como, Italy, hosted the National Electrical and Silk Products Exposition. Hohenstein was invited to design a postcard to advertise the event. This card is shown in Figure #5. The chromolithographic card was published by G. Ricordi & C. Milano as #037. It sells for around $150.
In addition to the artists already mentioned, there are many other Italian Art Nouveau postcard designers like Giovanni Mario Mataloni, Achille Beltrame and Pietro Floridia whose postcards are readily available. Prices for original artist signed illustrated cards range from $50 to $400. Modern reproductions, of which there are many in the marketplace, sell for $10 of less.
If you enjoy the beauty of the Art Nouveau style as I do, keep an eye out for the postcards of the Italian Stile Liberty era. As always, stay safe and good hunting!