"The French actor known as Coquelin made his debut at the Comedie
Francais in 1860 and achieved fame in classic roles, such as the valet
in Figaro. He made an extensive tour of Europe and America in 1886.
In 1897 he created his greatest characterization, the title role of
Cyrano de Bergerac, at the Theâtre de la Porte-Saint-Martin,
which he also managed. In 1900 he toured the United States with Sarah
Bernhardt and returned to Paris to play opposite her. Highly critical
and analytical towards his art, and believing in simulated rather
than real emotions" (Columbia Encyc.)
"In 1898 when he (Leonetto Cappiello) decided to pay a visit
to his older brother who happened to be working for the Paris Stock
exchange. Leonetto found Paris exciting, and wanted to stay longer,
which meant he had to find a way to support himself. He approached
two famous compatriots who happened to be in town, actor Novelli
and composer Puccini, asked them to let him sketch their caricatures.
They obliged, and Cappiello submitted the drawings to the humour
magazine "Le Rire" they were promptly accepted, and were
so well received by the public that he became, virtually overnight,
the favoured artist of the Paris Theatre" (Rennert
One of the magazines asked him to prepare his first poster (Le
Frou Frou) for which he used the style of his "Le Rire"
work, simple drawing and flat colour. From that point on he was
inundated with commissions for posters. These early works he did
for "Le Rire" were instrumental in the start of his career,
and thus their importance to the serious collector cannot be overestimated.