"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.
One of the reasons for the reasons for his quick acceptance was
that his sketches were never offensive. Usually artists would grossly
distort their subjects' features to ridicule them (including Toulouse-Lautrec),
Cappiello only used subtle exaggeration to spotlight their outstanding
characteristics. For that reason, he was able to do what other artists
were not permitted, to sketch some of the foremost ladies (and gentleman)
of the stage, who previously would never hear of allowing themselves
to be submitted to such treatment. Thereafter Cappiello's drawings
were routinely seen in at least a dozen of the many magazines that
proliferated in Paris during this era" (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.