Louise Balthy (1869-1926) was a remarkably talented performer who
trained in ballet but broke into show business with comic songs, which
secured her an engagement at the Eldorado at the age of 17. She was
a native of Bayonne near the Spanish border. At the time he portraits
her, she was much in demand as a star of lavish revues and spectacles"
(Wine Spectator 182)
"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.