Bass, Saul: NAPOLI [Poster]. Lissone, Italy: Arti Grafiche Meroni, [1984].

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Saul Bass [Designer]

Saul Bass [Design]: NAPOLI. Lissone, Italy: Arti Grafiche Meroni , [1984]. Original impression. 39 x 26.75 - inch [99.06 x 67.945 cm] trim size image printed via offset lithography on a semi-gloss sheet. A fine, fresh example.

39 x 26.75 - inch [99.06 x 67.945 cm] poster designed by Saul Bass: “A poster commissioned by Napoli ’99 Foundation as a contribution towards the cultural image of the city.”

The Naples NinetyNine Foundation sponsored a series of 25 posters from 1984 – 1986 with the primary objective of contributing to the knowledge, promotion and enhancement of cultural heritage of Naples and Southern Italy.

The 25 participating designers were Walter Allner, Stuart B. Ash, Saul Bass, Bruce Blackburn, Pierluigi Cerri, Ivan Chermayeff, Giulio Confalonieri, Heinz Edelmann, Gene Federico, Alan Fletcher, Jean-Michel Folon, André François, Milton Glaser, Tomás Gonda, F H K Henrion, David Hillman, Takenobu Igarashi, Mervyn Kurlansky, Italo Lupi, John Mcconnell, Armando Milani, Art Paul, Tullio Pericoli, Arnold Schwartzman, and Massimo Vignelli.

Their interpretations of the city cover a wide range of themes: architecture, poetry, music, the earthquake, pollution, Vesuvius. The 25 posters have been exhibited in Naples, Rome, Los Angeles, Dundee, and Lahti. The project won the award for the best social graphics at the 1987 Lahden Biennal Exhibition. Collect them all!

Saul Bass (1920-1996) enjoyed a storied career as a graphic designer, whose corporate identity work for companies such as AT&T, Bell Telephone, Esso, and United Airlines provided them with some of the most memorable brand recognition of the 20th century. His film titling work and poster design for Hollywood's greatest studios and directors, however, earned Bass a unique place in American graphic arts.

Born in The Bronx, Bass's passion for drawing and illustration appeared early in life, and he studied at both the famous Art Students League and at Brooklyn College where he came under the influence of Gyorgy Kepes and the full sweep of Russian Constructivist typography and Bauhaus design theory. Though he found some opportunities in New York as a freelance graphic artist, his greatest success came after moving to Los Angeles in 1946. His major breakthrough came by way of a commission from the film director Otto Preminger who asked him to design the titling sequences for "Carmen Jones." Bass transformed an otherwise tedious but necessary preamble to the movie into an exciting, anticipatory experience for theatre viewers.

More commissions from other directors soon followed, including Billy Wilder (The Seven Year Itch) and Robert Aldrich (The Big Knife). Then came the film that firmly established his reputation, Preminger's The Man with the Golden Arm, with its still dazzling sequences and memorable cutout image of the addict's arm. Other famous films bearing Bass's edgy and graphically arresting touch included Hitchcock's Vertigo, North by Northwest, and Psycho; Kubrick's Spartacus and The Shining; Scorsese's Goodfellas and Casino; and Speilberg's Schindler's List. Though Bass claimed to have directed Janet Leigh's shower scene sequence in Psycho, most sources credit him only with helping to prepare the storyboards.

Bass also directed the science fiction/horror film, Phase IV, and designed posters for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games and for the Academy Awards celebrations from 1991-1996. His most memorable quote was "Symbolize and summarize."