During the 20’s and 30’s the Italian designer Paulo Garretto was hugley successful, featuring in almost all major publications regularly. Known as being prolific , humurous and inventive, his work was displayed all throughout Europe, UK and American in posters, displays, billboards and publications.
He created caricatures consisting of current political figures among other things, in the art deco style. He loved to use geometric shapes which was the fashion in the new industrial age.
In the July edition of Vanity Fair, Garretto designed the cover image of ‘Despondent Sam’,which shows a caricature of Uncle Sam seated in the western hemisphere with clouds above. He is sitting in the shape of the independance day ‘4’. The political climate in that time was dismal. The economy was shot, and they were in the bad books in Europe due to rejection of economis deals over international monetry policy. This a great example of many of his works of that period.
Even though I am doing a study on the 30’s, I feel inclined to mention that pre 30’s he was first published by the ‘Great 8’, which was a group of British publications that included ‘The London News’, ‘The Graphic’, ‘The Tatler’, and ‘The Bystander’, as well as many European Publications. His fame in the 30’s was largely due to the frequency in which his work was viewed in publications like Fortune, time, Vogue, The New Yorker and Vanity Fair. Vibrant airbrushed collour was his trademark, and he also experimented with different media including collage and modeling clay.
When the wars broke out with Germany, Italy and America, his political stance and heritage made it almost impossible to stay in America, and most of his previous contracts were broken. Harpers Bazaar refused to print is ‘Fascist’ Images.
“Just as his fling with Fascism was tolerated in America before the war, his farcical caricatures of Mussolini and Hitler (published in the United States) were only tolerated in Italy until war broke out. Garretto had heard that Mussolini was not pleased with a certain anti-war article he had written a few years earlier. So when he returned to Rome, Garretto was not in favor. And when he refused to do propaganda (owing, he wrote in a rather farfetched statement, to an FBI declaration that he signed before being deported not to do any anti-U.S. propaganda) he was forced to come up with an idea that would prove his patriotism and not land him in an Italian prison for insubordination or treason. His brilliant idea, which is quite funny in hindsight, was to help teach Italian to those peoples conquered by the victorious Fascist forces.” (Random….)