Hohenstein's second poster for Campari is one of the most famous Italian posters of all time. To this day small copies can be found in many bars across Italy.
Bathed in the warm light of a cafe, two mustachioed gentlemen take pause as a waiter adds seltzer to their apertifs. The scene is all light and shadow, with interesting details emerging (such as horse and rider in the background) from the darkness. In addition to chiaroscuro, Hohenstein uses compositional devices like the crossed walking canes, to zigzag the viewer's eye towards the rear, creating a cafe ambiance with the most economical of means. The overall impression is one of warmth and good fellowship, which is exactly what Campari hoped to associate with its product.
This poster was only one of many triumphs for the Campari brand name. Perhaps more than any other single product, Campari utilized the best names in Italian design to come up with images that captured the public's imagination. Cappiello, Metlicovitz, Dudovich, Sacchetti, Laskoff, Nizzoli, and Depero all worked for Campari.
Hohenstein shares honor as the father of the Italian poster with Giovanni Mataloni, an early poster artist from Rome who worked at Ricordi for a few years. Hohenstein was born in Russia of German parents, and came to Ricordi in 1889. As its artistic director, he was at full stage center in the nascent Art Nouveau poster movement in Italy, known there as Stile Liberty. Little is known about his life, but his art clearly shows that he was deeply influenced by Mucha and was more than familiar with French Art Nouveau, German Jugendstil, and the Vienna Secession. His posters utilized dramatic effects of light, space and color, offering an intensity which appealed to the Italian temperment perfectly.
As a mentor, Hohenstein proved to be incomparable. The stable of talent he developed at Ricordi was difficult to match anywhere in the world. He left Ricordi in the able hands of Leopoldo Metlicovitz when he returned to Germany in 1906. We have few biographical notes after this date.