I have a great liking for poster art - particularly that of the late 19th Century and early 20th Century. One theme that shows off some of the best of the Art Nouveau posters is absinthe drinking.
Absinthe was first created in 1792 by Pierre Ordinaire, a French doctor living in Switzerland. His intention was to deliver the extract of the wormwood plant (which had long been known to have powerful healing effects) in a handy form.
At the end of the nineteenth century, absinthe was embraced by the literary bohemian crowd who gathered in European cafes and claimed the Green Fairy (La Fee Verte) as their muse and inspiration.
One of the most iconic art nouveau images of all, this 1896 image for Absinthe Robette by the Belgian posterist Privat-Livemont has spawned a million reproductions.
An unrecorded lithographic poster for Rosinette, Absinthe Rosé Oxygénée, printed by Camis around 1900.
Absinthe extra superior - J Edouard Pernot by Leonett Cappiello
Absinthe Parisienne poster by P.Gelis-Didot and Louis Malteste
Absinthe Vichet poster from 1896 - a quintessential Art Nouveau poster.
Leonetto Cappiello's famous poster for Absinthe Ducros Fils.
Two posters for La Fee Verte - I don't know who they were by.
This Absinthe bourgeois poster by the Mourgue brothers shows an Absinthe loving black cat enjoying a glass of the company's product. Nicknamed the'Chat Noir', it has became one of the best-loved Absinthe images.
All this publicity and the great growth of absinthe drinking caused a backlash and a large number of healthy, non-alcoholic alternatives appeared. They too had their posters both advertising their virtues and equating absinthe drinking with an early death. I shall blog about them another day.
Pencil Drawings by Laurie Lipton
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