“Master of Italian Film Posters”

by Pierre Vudrag on Wednesday, January 8, 2014

For me, answering the question “who is better the Beatles or the Stones,” is impossible.  I love them both equally for a different reason. However, when it comes to movie posters, I have a sweet spot for Italian posters and particularly the art of Anselmo Ballester.

Anselmo Ballester is widely regarded as one of the best poster artists of all time. Ballester is widely known for painting colorful poster art that are unparalleled in movie poster art.  Using spectacular colors, his work didn’t just depict a scene from a movie but captured the emotional essence of the entire film in his single painting.  Compare the original U.S. one sheet of the 1955 western “The Man from Laramie” starring James Stewart to Ballester’s version.

U.S. one sheet (artist unknown)

Anselmo Ballester’s “The Man from Laramie”

Art ran in his blood as his father was also a successful painter and poster designer.

Born in Rome in 1897, Ballester began creating poster art in the early 1900s.

The Flame and the Arrow (1950)

During Ballester’s long career he created posters for Italian film studios as well as many of the major U.S. studios. Ballester, formed a company called BCM with two other prominent Italian poster artists, Alfredo Capitani and Luigi Martinati and, over the years, these three men created some of the best poster art ever produced.  Ballester had a successful career as a poster artist and continued to produce movie posters through the 1960s. He died in 1974 in Rome. Limited Runs is fortunate to offer a selection of Ballester’s posters, including Jacques Tourneur’s 1950 medieval Italy swashbuckling adventure thriller “The Flame and the Arrow”, starring Burt Lancaster and Virgina Mayo.

Other posters available include:

Rumble On the Docks (1956)

Screaming Mimi (1958) Italian Locandina

The Bandit of Zhobe (1959) Italian Locandina

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