The Mele Posters


on January 31, 2013 | 5:44 pm | 2 Comments

If you know any Italian at all, you probably know that mele is the Italian word for apple. But if you get the chance to visit one of Capodimonte’s newest permanent collections, while some of the colour palettes might just conjure up visions of a Granny Smith, don’t expect to see any posters of apples.

The apples in question are brothers Emiddio and Alfonso, whose sir name just happened to be Mele. The posters, part of a series of large scale advertisements the Mele brothers commissioned for their chain of department stores headquartered in Naples.

The Mele Posters at Capodimonte

Taking their inspiration from Paris’ La Fayette and Bon Marché, the Mele brothers brought the concept of Belle Époque department stores to Italy. Operating from 1889 to 1932, E. & A. Mele & Ci, i Grandi Magazzini Italiani, settled into 2000 square meters of space spread across the first and third floors of the elegant and newly constructed Palazzo della Borghesia on Via San Carlo. Across the street in Galleria Umberto I, they opened their own post office to support their quarterly mail order catalogue which featured over 1000 items.

A fashion and luxury goods department store chain, the Mele brothers pricing and marketing strategy was aimed at the growing middle class. Their slogan, Massimo buon mercato, featured prominently in their marketing and advertising campaigns, on which they spared no expense.

The Mele Posters at Capodimonte  The Mele Posters at Capodimonte

Be it print ads for newspapers, magazines and playbils, or large scale posters for billboards, the Mele brothers commissioned the leading artists, designers, painters, and illustrators of the time to create top notch advertisements. Artists, whose individuality shone through while remaining true to the brand messaging.


The legacy of the Mele Brothers and their department stores lives on through the Fondazione Mele, and now at Capodimonte with the foundation’s donation of 32 large scale advertising posters to the museum. Of immense artistic value, they also serve as a pictorial record of the tastes and styles of an era.

Opened to the public 0n November 26th, 2012, access to the collection is by appointment.

Where: Via Miano, 2, Naples
When: Open daily except Wednesday 0830 – 1930, call or email for an appointment to see the Mele exhibit
Tel.: +39 081 7499111
How Much: Adults €7,50, After 1400 €6,50, Reduced €3,75, Audio Guide €5,00

Read more about the Capodimonte Museum and find all the details you need to plan your visit!

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Passionate about my adopted home, for me Naples is the perfect canvas. From its breathtaking vistas to its rich cultural heritage, I could live here a lifetime and never see it all, photograph it all, or write about it all.

Art in the City Blog Bonnie's Napoli Posts


2 reviews

  1. John Perino, October 7, 2013 8:05 pm - The Mele Posters

    Hi I have a few small .E&A. MELE & C.

    Posters… probably printed in the 60s 13″X 9″. any idea of the value?

    Thanks. John Perino, Focus Gallery San Francisco CA

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      Bonnie, October 9, 2013 1:49 pm - The Mele Posters

      Hi John – lucky you! I would so love to see them. I wouldn’t have any idea of their value, but you might try contacting the Mele Foundation. If you are looking to sell them, perhaps they’d be interested. You might also try contacting the Capodimonte Museum. Perhaps they could put you in touch with the right person.

      If you don’t have any luck, please let me know and I’ll see if I can put you in touch with someone.

      By the way – how did you come to have them?

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  2. John Wilmerding, April 10, 2016 8:19 pm - The Mele Posters

    Hi Bonnie,
    I just got a Dudovich poster in the Mele & C. series, a landscape featuring four women and one man, elegantly dressed, listening to another woman playing a lute. Legend: MF/653 Arte Grafiche Ricordi S.p.A. – Milano – Edizione Beatrice D’Este – Printed in Italy … dimensions 28″ wide by 20″ high. A small version of it on the net bears these captions:

    Marcello Dudovich, opere di Marcello Dudovich, dudovich arte pittura e grafica 310 × 236

    Tecnica: Manifesto litografico / Lithographic poster Dimensione: cm. 200 x 280 Anno: 1914 Soggetto: ” Mele & C. Napoli” – Confezioni mode stoffe- massimo buon mercato. Stampa Ricordi, Milano Provenienza: Raccolta Salce, Civico Museo Bailo,Treviso.

    Can you tell me any more about this? It’s in very good shape. Any idea of its worth? Thanks!

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      Bonnie Alberts, April 12, 2016 10:21 am - The Mele Posters

      Hi John – Congratulations on your purchase!!! I wish I could be of help but NU is an information website about Naples. I suggest you contact the Capodimonte Museum directly with your query.

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