Champagne and the Vintage French Art Poster
Champagne in Poster Art During La Belle Epoque Era
"La Belle Epoque", the "beautiful era", covers the period from the 1890's to the advent of the First World War in 1914, a time of peace and prosperity - a golden age for the Upper Classes. In Paris, La Belle Epoque is reflected in the advertising posters of the time, with products offering the consumer the hedonistic lifestyle - cigarettes, absinthe, theatre shows and champagne.
Champagne is known for its decadence, its romance, its elitism and its beauty. It is a topic that has created timeless art posters which are now enjoying a revival in popularity over 100 years later.
A Quick History of the Lithographic Poster
The poster that transformed advertising
In the 1870's an artist called Chéret in Paris discovered a way to print colour using a "three stone lithographic process", a process that allowed the artist to combine word and pictures, gave intense colour and was economical to produce too. The lithographic poster was used by Mucha, Chéret and Cappiello amongst many others. Paris became known as the "picture gallery of the street".
Poster art was loved by the people at the time; it was hugely popular as it brought art to the ordinary person on the street. Poster shows around Europe were organised to show off the artists work, the largest one being held in Reims (the home of Champagne) in 1896 where 1,690 posters were exhibited all arranged by Country.
The posters below are from this era of the Belle Epoque, I hope you enjoy them.
Art Nouveau and Champagne Vintage Posters
Alphonse Mucha: 1860 - 1939
Alphonse Mucha was a Czech Art Nouveau painter and print maker, famous for his delicate detailed illustrations.
Mucha designed posters for Champagne, but also non luxury items too such as soap, cigarettes, biscuits and other everyday household items.
In illustrating these adverts Mucha succeeded in bringing art to ordinary people, something he was passionate about.
Mucha was very much the "starving artist" when he first arrived in Paris, drawing illustrations for very little money, living on lentils and becoming very ill.
After 7 years of hard work in Paris, Mucha became an overnight success when received a 6 year contract to design the actress Sarah Bernhardt's theatre sets, costumes and posters. Unfortunately when Art Nouveau became unfashionable, so did Mucha, although his art was still popular it was no longer "new".
Mucha was arrested in when the Nazis invaded Czechoslovakia in 1938, and died in prison in 1939.
Emile Berchmans: 1867 - 1947
Berchmans was an artist from Belgium, specialising in watercolours, pastels and lithographs. He illustrated a number of posters for magazines, which are very collectable today.
There is a soft dreamy quality to his work, and his style is very well suited to advertising posters in the Belle Epoque era. Berchmans liked to paint mythological figures - hence the fairy opening the champagne in this poster.
Dirty Old Men and the Champagne Vintage Poster!
The title “Messieurs!! Voulez Vous Conquérir les Coeurs!” translates to “Gentlemen! Would you win hearts!” This suggests that this very old man is able to attract young beautiful women if he buys them this champagne! If you look at her face though, she doesn’t look that impressed, perhaps she’s just putting up with his advances in order to have an expensive drink!
The caption at the bottom of the poster “Exiger la superbe paire de jarretières avec chaque bouteille” translates to “Requiring a great pair of garters with each bottle!”
Francisco Tamagno (1851 - 1923)
Tamago was born in Portugal and moved to Paris in the 1880s, where he became popular for illustrating adverts for cycling, skiing, rail travel and drinks. Although he is of the same era as the Art Nouveau graphic artists, Tamagno's style is more cartoon like and bold.
This illustration shows a drunken gentleman fetching another bottle of champagne, with two empty bottles on the table! Let's hope he hasn't drunk them all by himself!
Cork Popping Champagne Vintage Posters
Leonetto Capiello (1875 - 1942)
Born in Italy, Capiello moved to Paris in 1898 and work as a caricaturist before devoting his time to creating posters.
He is considered to be the godfather of the Art Deco movement and revolutionised advertising with his strong dynamic style, bold colours and lines.
Capiello turned poster advertising into a collectable art form, in 40 years he illustrated over 1000 works.
Grapeshot! By Lou Mayer
This poster was illustrated by Lou Mayer, I cannot find any information on the life of artist at present but will update here when I do! The illustration appeared in an English magazine in 1915.
Grapeshot is a type of ammunition used in cannons, they are a cluster of metal pellets - this illustration is comparing the popping of a cork to a hail of grapeshot from a cannon.
Vintage Posters in the Style of La Belle Epoque
Taittinger Champagne Vintage Poster
L'Instant Taittinger translates to "Taittinger in a Moment" and was created by Claude Taittinger for an advertising campaign in 1988. This image encapsulates the champagne brand so simply and effectively; elegance, sophistication, allure and beauty.
The image shows Grace Kelly, the beautiful American actress and Princess Consort of Monaco. I love the way her pose is echoed in the shape of the glass. After appearing on the front cover of Vogue, it was propelled from being an advert to an iconic art image.
This poster looks very vintage and could have been drawn in the 1930s, however the artist is alive and young too! Leifi was born in Southern California has been drawing since he was 4 years old. After graduating in 1987 Leifi began a successful career in design and enlisted into the army in 2006.
I don't think Golden Sable is a brand of Champagne, I have looked for it and I think this is fictional! It is a beautiful illustration; Poto Leifi has drawn others in similar styles which all have that vintage and retro feel to them.
Where to Buy Original Vintage Posters - make an investment, buy an original champagne vintage poster
- Lithographic art posters - Antique Vintage Posters
Vintage posters and small format vintage graphics from I Desire Vintage Posters. Most of the antique vintage posters are 70 or 80 years old, but many of them over 100 years of age.
- Original vintage posters, French antique art gallery
Catalog of vintage posters on parisposters.com. Exhaustive list of original posters are sorted by artists, categories, and titles.
- Vintage Posters by La Belle Epoque
La Belle Epoque offers the largest collection of fine rare vintage and antique advertising posters.
- IVPDA - Home
The International Vintage Poster Dealers Association (IVPDA)