Feb 29, 2024 - Sale 2660

Sale 2660 - Lot 51

Estimate: $ 12,000 - $ 18,000


[UNTAMED TUMBLE]. Signed oil painting.

40½x31 inches, 102¾x78¾ cm.
Condition A- / B+: lower left corner replaced and reinforced by board on verso, with in-painting; pin holes and chipping at edges. Oil painting on board, signed by the artist. Framed without glass.

In this dynamic, twisting composition of a large feline and nude red-headed woman, Cappiello diverges from his usual style in the "fleshed-out," expressionist female figure. This painting is not identifiable as a design for a realized poster or project, but does encapsulate Cappiello's emblematic oeuvre of an animal and figure, in motion, against a swirling background. Cappiello "immediately recognize[d] the power of animals in advertising . . . cats, dragons, unicorns, lions, tigers, elephants, buffalo, rams and birds of all feathers populate his designs" (Cappiello / Rennert, p. 27). The symbolism of the image is unclear, but the effect is a bold, captivating design.

Cappiello's earliest paintings, predominantly portraits and landscapes, date back to 1886, when he was only 11 years old. He then focused on political and entertainment caricatures for several years before melding his talents in portraiture and linework into his famed poster career.