Depero vs. Cassandre

Bitter Campari
by Fortunato Depero
1928

L'Atlantique
by A.M. Cassandre
1931

Featured above are two advertisement posters, the first by futurist artist Fortunato Depero and the second by art deco artist A.M. Cassandre. While the two works exhibit similarities, there are many differences between the two that mark the distinctive styles of the artists and their respective movements.

Fortunato Depero’s advertisement for Bitter Campari exhibits several elements of the futurism movement. Futurists were inspired by the fragmented shapes of cubism and the bright colors of neo-impressionism, and these elements are evident throughout the Bitter Campari ad. In Depero’s advertisement, there are large areas of flat, bright color, and the objects in the work are made up of simple geometric shapes. Using geometric shapes expresses the futurist desire to move forward and embrace the modern world because it is much different than the curvilinear, ornate pieces from the past that the futurists so despised. In addition to a geometric design, the sans-serif typeface used in the poster exemplifies a modern style. A stark contrast from the ornately designed typefaces of the past, sans-serif typefaces instantly conveyed a modern look. Movement and dynamism were also major inspirations for many futurist artists, and the illusion of movement is found in Depero’s piece. The table appears to be slightly tipping over, and the figure also appears to be moving its limbs, leaning back and taking a drink.

At first glance, A.M. Cassandre’s advertisement for L’Antlantique is much different from Depero’s Bitter Campari ad. However, Cassandre’s advertisement is very geometric and modern in design, similar to Depero’s work. One obvious difference in Cassandre’s work is the soft, puffy smoke clouds that soften the hard geometry of the ship and tugboat; while Depero’s work is strictly geometric. Also, Cassandre had a very unique style that was marked by a sleek, seamless airbrushing technique. Cassandre used flatter colors in L’Atlantique compared to the bright oranges and yellows in Depero’s advertisement. Cassandre also created more value in his work than Depero.

Similar to futurism, art deco embraced the modern world as well as geometric, linear designs. In fact, art deco pieces show influence from several movements including futurism, modernism and constructivism. However, art deco artists like Cassandre did not shun the use of minimal ornamentation and curvilinear elements as the futurists did. This is evident in L’Atlantique with the puffs of smoke as well as the gentle curved lines of the prows on the ship and tugboat. Cassandre’s poster also conveys a sense of movement like Depero’s work does. However, the illusion of motion created by Cassandre is softer than Depero’s figure in Bitter Campari, which is appropriate for the movement of a ship.

Both artists used a sans-serif typeface in their advertisements, which shows that both Cassandre and Depero displayed a love of modern style in their art. However, Depero’s typeface is more playful and futuristic with the italic “T’s” in “Bitter” and the odd shapes created by the lines in the “A’s” and “M” in “Campari.” Cassandre’s typeface is more conservative, but it fits the look of the ocean liner advertisement.

Although both Depero’s and Cassandre’s works have similar specific aspects of design, the main element that connects the two pieces is their modern design. Both Depero and Cassandre’s pieces convey a strong sense of movement towards the future, and both works are very different from the advertisements that had been released before. The works of both Cassandre and Depero made a significant impact on art, design and advertising and changed the fields forever.

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