The Peaceful Uses of Montage

In the hands of John Heartfield, Germany’s most acerbic graphic political commentator, photomontage was a weapon against Nazi tyranny. It was, however, likewise used to promote tyrannies and idealize power in various countries during the 1920s and ’30s. In the …

Illustration Makes The Man

Clothes, they say, make the man. But in the world of early-20th-century advertisements, illustrators made the man that wore the clothes that made the man. Just look how self-satisfied this gent appears while tying his tie. The illustrator may be …

Elegantissima!

Louise Fili is the most elegant woman I know—no exaggeration—so I had to smile when I learned the title of her monograph was Elegantissima (Princeton Architectural Press). She’s also the most Italian Italian-American I know. (She gets Italian cable!) Louise …

Italy's Fumetti: Curiously Sophisticated Pulp Comics

Fumetti literally means “small puffs of smoke,” which suggests the speech balloons common to most comic strips. In Italy, fumetti has become synonymous with comic strips, and particularly photo-comics, where written dialogue (in a balloon or not) is superimposed over …

The Workshop of Typographic Memories

Although I associate it with writers, once among the world’s most brilliant, who drank themselves into self-parody and premature death, Via Margutta is my favorite street in Rome. Whenever I’m lucky enough to visit, I make a point of looking …