In 1898, Cappiello left his hometown of Livorno, Italy to visit his brother working in Paris. While there, he submitted some caricatures of Italian notables in town (including Puccini) to the newspaper. They were accepted, and Cappiello’s vacation never ended. Overnight he became the talk of the town, as his caricatures were so insightful and fresh. His subjects loved his work as it poked fun but always flattered.
The bound Nos Actrices was Cappiello’s first major project and consisted of 18 beautiful hand colored caricatures of Parisian actresses, including two of Sarah Bernhardt. Influenced strongly by Toulouse Lautrec and the British Beggarstaff Brothers, his work is simple and direct, always capturing the essence of his subject.
This ability was to serve Cappiello well as a poster maker, as he went on to produce more than 1000 delightful images. He is known as a father of modern advertising for his captivating images which could be understood in a second, and remembered for a lifetime. The key to his work was creating a metaphor for a product that was so memorable that it could be absorbed on a busy boulevard instantly. As a product poster artist he has never been surpassed.