Artist: Leonetto Cappiello Italian (1875-1942)
Title: Polaire a la Scala
Plate: LR C11
from "Le Rire"
Original page from the satirical weekly magazine,
Printed in Paris, issue No. 284, Published April 14th 1900
Printing on verso.
Presented in 16 x 20 in. acid free, archival museum mat, with framing labels. Ready to frame. Shipped boxed flat via Fedex.
Certificate of Authenticity.
Sheet Size: 9 in x 12 in 23 cm x 31 cm
"We hardly need to be told that Polaire was a striking presence on stage. She was Emilie Bouchard (1877-1939), originally from Algiers, who was from all accounts quite a character. Endowed by nature with a rather generous bust, she ignored the Victorian dress code which demanded that woman conceal their breasts as much as possible, and refused to wear the confining corsets, hence she tended to stand out conspicuously, and it is not beyond conjecture that this may have been at least partly responsible for her entry into show business as a cafe singer at the age of 15. To her credit, she made the most of the opportunity, and seized the first chance to perform in a stage production. There, she surprised everyone by revealing herself as a sensitive and intelligent comedienne, and within a year was playing soubrette leads in comedies" (Wine Spectator 184)
"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 PAI-IX)
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.