Umberto Brunelleschi was born in Montemurlo, Florence on June 21st, 1879. At twenty years old he attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and in November of 1900 he moved to Paris where he found work as an illustrator with the famous fashion/lifestyle magazine Le Rire and where he began to exhibit with the Salon des Independants.
From 1906 to 1908 Brunelleschi was a major contributor to the Florentine Sunday Journal (Il Giornalino della Dominica) published by Luigi Bertelli and from that time became one of Europe’s best known book illustrators. His original gouaches for book illustration were regularly exhibited at the Paris “Salons” and at the Venice “Biennale”, in which he continuously participated until 1942.
In 1914 Brunelleschi added costume and set design to his active repertoire, beginning a long and fruitful relationship with the stage arts that culminated in Puccinni’s request for him to design the original costumes and some of the scenery for the opera Turandot.
For most of WW1 Brunelleschi served in the Italian Army. When the fighting concluded, he returned to Paris as editor of the highly exclusive fashion, theatre and lifestyle publication “La Guirlande”. With many of his works exhibited throughout Europe during the 1920’s, Brunelleschi also became a regular contributor to L’Estampe Moderne, which showcased the work of many leading print artists “au pochoir”.
Today Brunelleschi illustrations are highly sought-after collector pieces, whether they be lithographs taken from literary works, original fashion and lifestyle drawings, sketches for stage and costume, or the wonderfully colourful pochoir fashion illustrations he produced for La Guirlande, Journal des Dames et des Modes and the like.
Umberto Brunelleschi died in Paris on Feb 16th, 1949 at the age of 70.