In the last century art and advertising has had a mutually beneficial relationship. Each discipline feeding from the other. For example, in 1962 Andy Warhol produced thirty-two canvases, consisting of a painting of a Campbell’s Soup can. The controversy the works helped stir put commercial illustration and even advertising as art and art as advertising into the minds of the public. Warhol later produced a wide variety of art works depicting Campbell’s Soup cans and even other items like the sculptures of Brillo boxes.
Alphonse Mucha, 1860 – 1939, was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and decorative artist, known best for his distinct style. He produced many paintings, illustrations, designs, and advertisements. In 1896 he produced, what is considered in many circles a piece of fine art for an advertisement for Lefèvre Utile, or LU, that is a manufacturer brand of French biscuits, emblematic of the city of Nantes in São Paulo. The piece depicts members of high society enjoying conversation, champaign, flirtation and of course biscuits.
In 1954, Norman Rockwell was commissioned by Kellogg’s to produce a piece for the cover of the corn flakes cereal box. The resulting freckled, red headed boy is an example of several of fine art illustrations that Rockwell produced for advertisements.
To advertise Brazil’s Museu de Arte de São Paulo Art School, the advertising firm of DDB Brazil dissected famous painters like frogs in a biology class.
In 2004 Banksy took the messages of advertising and commercialism to a dark corner by producing a provocative work featuring Ronald McDonald and Mickey Mouse merrily holding a terrified, naked girl’s hands on each side. The image of the girl was reproduced from a photograph of a napalm bombing of a Vietnamese village in 1972, which provoked worldwide horror and condemnation at the conduct of the war. The work was originally made on cartridge paper and has been exhibited internationally.
Artist Etienne Lavie wondered what a city would look like if ads are replaced by fine art
Recently Italians were apparently upset over an ad featuring Michelangelo’s David toting a rifle.
This is not the first time Michelangelo’s or other High Renaissance art work has been used in advertising.
Now I will leave you with a few more gems of art in advertising.
The Agency-for-fine-art-transportations ad depicting a parody of dutch painters Johannes Vermeer’s 1665 famous Girl with a Pearl Earring
We come full circle back to Warhol with an Orbits ad.