Portrait, 5 kb
Leo Lionni
1910.05.05 Amsterdam (NL) - 1999.10.11 Rome (I)

Obituary from DeadPool.org

10/17/99 - ROME -- Artist Leo Lionni, who devoted his versatile talents to everything from philosophical children's books to high-profile ad campaigns, died Oct. 11. He was 89. Lionni was born in the Netherlands on May 5, 1910, and immigrated to the United States 10 years later, showing an early enthusiasm for drawing.

In 1925, he moved to Genoa, Italy, where his abstract paintings won him an invitation to exhibit with the then-cutting-edge Futurists. He worked on his first graphic design projects in Milan.

Mussolini's Fascist racial laws turned Lionni away from Italy and toward the United States in 1933, when he wove his artistic and business talents into a successful career in advertising.

As art director of N.W. Ayer in Philadelphia, Lionni designed ad campaigns for clients including Ford and General Electric, employing respected contemporary artists such as Fernand Leger and Willem De Kooning as illustrators.

In the 1950s, he became art director for Fortune magazine and edited catalogs for New York's Museum of Modern Art and Metropolitan Museum.

In 1959, Lionni published his first children's book, ``Little Blue and Little Yellow.'' The idea -- the book's protagonists are a blue dot and a yellow dot whose adventures blend them together into Little Green -- sprung from a story he once improvised for his grandchildren.

Lionni went on to write and illustrate another 30 children's books, which have been published in 11 languages.

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page last revised on November 25, 1999 / this section is part of Rene Wanner's Poster Page /