(1854 – 1928)
Adolfo Hohenstein is a poster designer, painter, illustrator, set and costume designer. He is considered the father of the Italian poster art.
He was born in Saint Petersburg from German parents, but grew up and studied in Vienna. After his studies, he moved to Milan in 1879 and became a set and costumer designer for La Scala and other theatres. After meeting Giulio Ricordi, the music publisher, he began working for him in 1889 and soon became the artistic director of Ricordi company. He created posters for famous opera such as "La Bohème" (1896), "Tosca" (1899) and "Madame Butterfly" (1904). He also designed posters for Italian brands such as "Buitoni", "Mele" or, as in his 1901 poster, for "Bitter Campari", in which he depicts two elegant gentlemen seated on a café watching their drinks. In his posters, Hohenstein often uses mythological references: Persée in "Corriere della Sera" (1898), a centaur in "Zolfi Amalgia" (1909/1950) or a faun in "Bière du Cardinal" (ca 1905).
In 1918, he left Milan and moved to Bonn, Germany. During the last ten years of his life, he worked mainly as a painter or decorator for numerous buildings.
Hohenstein is an artist of the "Stile Liberty" (the Italian Art Nouveau). He mainly uses taupe and vert-de-gris tones in his works with a bright spot of colour (red, yellow) in the background that creates depth. He is considered as one of the most important Italian posters designers.