"Caroline Otero, known as La Belle Otero, lived to be almost
100 years old and she took pride in the belief, or perhaps the fact,
that men's faces 'light with desire' as they pass by. Born in Cadiz
in 1869 (she died in1965), she was both a dancer and a singer. She
made her debut in 1889 and performed in cafes, singing and dancing,
throughout Europe and America. She even sang the title role in Carmen
(and one may be certain she danced it also!) in 1912 at the Opera-Comique"
(Dance Posters 24)
"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.