The Lloyd press

The Third Section

The third, literary-artistic section of Lloyd Austriaco was formally established on 21st June 1849. It comprised the city’s reading rooms, including the large Tergesteo hall, where as many as 147 Italian and foreign journals could be consulted together with the correspondence sent by the Company’s 190 agents worldwide. Additionally, the company’s letterpress and art workshops were also part of this section, which was also responsible for printing a number of periodicals in Italian, French, German, and Greek. All of these activities gave work to hundreds of highly specialised workers in the publishing field, but they remained a direct expression of an industrial and financial company that was one-of-a-kind in Europe at that time.
Moreover, the many illustrated volumes printed by the letterpress showed an immediate ability to present cultural aspirations and artistic criteria of a high qualitative level, with the goal of promoting tourism and trade, as befitted one of the world’s leading shipping companies.

R. Geyling
Book celebrating the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the Austrian Lloyd, 1911

The Lloyd printing works

A. Quaiatti Lloyd Triestino, linee celeri postali Bozzetto per manifesto, tempera e matita grassa su carta

A. Quaiatti
Lloyd Triestino, fast mail steamer lines
Preparatory sketch for poster,
tempera and wax pencil on paper, 1927 ca.

Ever since it was founded, Lloyd had published periodicals containing useful news in the shipping, trade, and insurance fields. It initially used private letterpresses, which it contracted to print its “Giornale del Lloyd Austriaco di notizie commerciali e marittime”. Soon, however, a number of shareholders began to push the idea of a company letterpress.

They began by purchasing the latest equipment: modern and hydraulic presses, handwriting fonts, a stereotype print press, a cylinder press, and a Congreve-type compound-plate machine to print in various colours and in gold and silver hues. The letterpress began its activities in 1842 under the name I. Papsch & Co. Tipografia del Lloyd; on 30th January 1848, it simplified its name to Tipografia del Lloyd.

The following year, the company purchased from Stuttgart a cutting-edge steel engraving machine that allowed it to reproduce any image at the highest possible quality levels for its time.

The Modiano press
and modern advertising

By the late 1880s, Lloyd adopted modern advertising and promotional strategies. It commissioned its letterpress and Trieste’s main printing presses with printing posters and brochures advertising its ferry services. One of Trieste’s most modern and best equipped printing presses in those years was undoubtedly the S.D. Modiano press, which was able to print magnificent, large chromolithographs.

The company, which is active to this day, was founded by Saul Davide Modiano and began its activity in 1873. In addition to producing its renowned playing cards, its main sector of activity was manufacturing cigarette rolling papers.

Modiano took a giant leap forward when it began to print large advertising posters using a technique that was ahead of its time, chromolithography. This technique was exploited to its full potential once the painter Giuseppe Sigon (Trieste 1864-1922) became the company’s artistic director. Between 1890 and the first years of the 20th century Sigon produced a great many stunningly illustrated posters and other print ads on Lloyd’s behalf.

G. Sigon
Société de navigation à vapeur du Lloyd Autrichien
Austrian Lloyd’s Steam Navigation Co.
Cardboard exhibitor, private collection, 1896

Trieste and Vienna united by art

Between 1907 and the beginning of World War I, the ties between Lloyd Austriaco and the capital of the Hapsburg empire became closer, especially after the company’s headquarters were transferred to Vienna that year.

As a result, artistic and promotional commissions increasingly went to Viennese printing works. This was not the only reason. At the turn of the 20th century Lloyd Austriaco was one of the world’s leading shipping companies, and in the run-up to WWI it further consolidated its position in terms of prestige, miles travelled, as well as passenger and cargo traffic. Additionally, those years saw the explosive growth of advertising posters throughout Europe.

In order to adequately promote this new offer, aimed mainly at the upper classes, the company found itself with an unprecedented need for promotional communications. The Company’s glorious letterpress was no longer sufficient, and a lot of promotional material was thus outsourced to prestigious Viennese printing presses.

Artists during the years of the Belle Époque

In the pre-World War I era, the Austrian painters and graphic artists responsible for the marvellous sketches that Lloyd would use in its posters, brochures, playing cards, postcards, and illustrated volumes included Remigius Geyling, Harry “Henry” Heusser, Georg Holub, Rudolf Kalvach, Rudolf Karpellus, Rudolf Konopa Leopold Alphons Mielich, Hans Printz, and others. In the field of decorative arts, which were used in the most prestigious ship passenger cabins and in company offices, one cannot fail to mention the extraordinary objects designed by Josef Hoffmann and manufactured around 1910 on behalf of the Austrian Lloyd by the prestigious production community Wiener Werkstätte. Noteworthy are also Carl Ludwig Prinz’s painting cycles decorating the main halls of the company’s two flagships, the Helouan and the Wien.

More locally, some of Trieste’s leading painters also made highly appreciated contributions. Argio Orell, for instance, painted some extraordinary scenes that would be used on the company’s playing cards, which were printed by Modiano. Renowned seascape painters such as Guido Grimani, Giuseppe Miceu, and Alexander Kircher depicted Lloyd’s steamships at sea; these scenes were then printed on postcards, calendars, and posters to be sent throughout Europe.

A new start

When Bruno Astori (Trieste 1893-1975) was appointed as the head of the press office in 1923, the company was facing one of its darkest periods. Astori’s initiatives, which were of great promotional and publishing value, contributed substantially to breathing new life into the newly-renamed Lloyd Triestino.

He founded journals and bulletins, and published technical, historical, and commercial volumes, showing exceptional skill and competence. His most important contribution, however, was to have created and motivated, ever since his first days as a director, a team of top-notch young graphic artists, with the idea of building a new image for the company now that it had a ’new fatherland’. Between the two world wars, Lloyd Triestino’s press office became one of the most prestigious Italian clients in the field of international graphic advertising.

The works of Alberto Bianchi, Gino Boccasile, Renato Cenni, Giorgio Dabovich, Marcello Dudovich, Antonio Quaiatti, Giovanni Giordani, Paolo Klodic, Franz Lenhart, Argio Orell, Marcello Nizzoli, Giovanni Patrone, Giuseppe Riccobaldi, Filippo Romoli, and Xanti Schawinskj often adorned posters, brochures, postcards, and magazines that promoted Lloyd’s services among the global elite.

G. Petronio Bollettino mensile del Lloyd Triestino Bozzetto per copertina, tempera su carta

G. Petronio
Monthly bulletin of Lloyd Triestino
Preparatory sketch for front cover, tempera on paper, 1925

Antonio “Quaiat” Quaiatti (1904 -1992)

A. Quaiatti (attr.) Bozzetto per brochure, tempera su carta

A. Quaiatti (attr.)
Preparatory sketch for brochure, tempera on paper
1932 ca.

A. Quaiatti (attr.) Bozzetto per brochure, tempera su carta 1934 ca.

A. Quaiatti (attr.)
Preparatory sketch for brochure, tempera on paper, 1934 ca.

This Trieste-born artist concluded his studies in the decorative arts sector of Trieste’s “Scuole Industriali”, where his teachers included Carlo Wostry and Flori-Finazzer. At a very young age, Quaiatti began to work at Lloyd Triestino’s press office as a freelancer, and would eventually spend his entire, lengthy career there. Between 1925 and 1941 his paintings, mostly landscapes, were always on display at major events in the city. Until the late 1920s he signed his paintings with his original last name, Quaiat, which he eventually changed to Quaiatti.

In 1934 he was awarded a silver medal for art in advertising at the Sindacale Giuliana. Beginning in the late 1920s, he authored numerous illustrations and covers for regional magazines, and contributed to the advertising campaigns of other local companies. Later on, he would focus on illustrating books and postcards and on interior decorating. From the end of World War II until his retirement, he continued to work for Lloyd Triestino. He died in Trieste at a very old age. The series of covers he painted for Lloyd’s renowned illustrated magazine Sul Mare span nearly his entire artistic career.

Giovanni Giordani (1884 –1969)

Giovanni Giordani was born in Klagenfurt and moved to Trieste at a very young age. In 1900 he was enrolled in the K.K. Kunstgewerbeschule under the tutelage of Eugenio Scomparini. He lost his father as a small child, and by the time he was fourteen he was already working to help support his family.

In 1910 he moved to Milan, where he worked as a graphic artist for Società Ricordi until 1913, when he moved back to Trieste. In 1921 he was licensed to teach at the Bologna Academy of Fine Arts, which allowed him to embark on a brilliant career as a drawing instructor. Between 1926 and 1933 he worked as a graphic artist for Il Corriere della Sera’s monthly magazine La Lettura, and authored several of its covers. His artistic style was particularly well-suited to watercolour painting, and to a lesser extent to tempera painting as well.

He began working with Lloyd in 1921, when he won first prize at a competition sponsored by the company. Giordani authored nine covers for «Sul Mare» magazine between 1925 and 1939. During these years, he carried out extensive work for Lloyd Triestino’s press office, with numerous magnificent advertising posters and brochures, some of which he also designed on behalf of the Cosulich Line.

The decline of traditional graphic art

Studio Battistella Lloyd Triestino Bozzetto per calendario

Studio Battistella
Lloyd Triestino
Preparatory sketch for calendar, 1954 ca.

For Lloyd and its fleet, the immediate aftermath of World War II was, if possible, even more tragic that the post-WWI period. In spite of logistical difficulties and poor materials, the press office soon picked itself up its feet and resumed working as early as the late 1940s. In the span of a few years, however, the techniques to manufacture advertising materials were drastically revolutionised.

As airplanes quickly began replacing ships as the favourite means of intercontinental travel, photographs also rapidly took over from paintings as the preferred medium for advertising. Although traditional sketches continued to be made through the 1950s, by the early 1960s photography, including colour photography, had almost completely replaced traditional graphic art. The Trieste school of advertising art continued to produce at a very high qualitative level in those years as well, as shown by the images on display here and by the work of Studio Battistella and Bruno Sauli, in addition to that of a long-time contributor such as Antonio Quaiatti.