We may be at the height of the craft beer renaissance, but the history of alcoholic beverages goes way back. Humans have proven, over millennia, that we like a good drink. In the last few centuries, a more global marketplace resulted in the growth and proliferation of major brands of wine, more diverse options like liquors and apéritifs and–in the age of the poster–a lot of advertising to sustain that growth.
Our August 1 auction features Swann Galleries’ largest offering of food and drink posters to date, with nearly 100 examples advertising wines, spirits, appellations, restaurants, festivals and food. Here’s a look at some of our favorites.
Where now we see alcohol advertisements imploring responsible consumption, wines were once promoted as a healthful, honorable alternative to distilled spirits. In Manuel Orazi’s design, symbolism from antiquity helps associate wine with all that is good in the world.
Appellation seems to have originated in Italy, but France is also well-known for its specialities, like Champagne. Below, a poster for wines of the Alsace region paints the dream of a sunset repast: a checkered tablecloth, flowers and two very recognizable bottles of wine, a Reisling and a Sylvaner.
Lot 299: Francisco Tamagno, Vin Pernod, circa 1899. Estimate $1,200 to $1,800.
Leonetto Cappiello was a giant of the Art Nouveau era and designed posters for Bordeaux, Cognac, Port and more. He had a penchant for devilish imagery and employed it in one of his most well-known designs, Maurin Quina. At the time the apéritif was not terribly successful, but the design had such longevity that the spirit was revived and is now distributed with the green devil on its bottle.
Lot 363: Leonetto Cappiello, Maurin Quina, 1906. Estimate $1,500 to $2,000.
Lot 352: Armando Testa, Carpano, 1950s. Estimate $600 to $900.
The sale features a number of lots by Luciano Achille Mauzan, a prolific designer and illustrator whose posters for relatively mundane products convey an ecstatic humor. Who knew tomatoes could bring such joy?