A Warning Against American Cocktails

Blanc et rouge. Design by Paul Iribe (1883-1935) and text by Georges Montorgueil (1857-1933). (Paris: Draeger frères, 1930). Graphic Arts GAX2001 -in process.

Graphic Arts recently acquired three rare promotional wine catalogues from the Parisian merchant Nicolas. Each is beautifully designed by Paul Iribe, who was best known for his Art Deco costume, furniture, and fabric designs. Iribe began his career as a cartoonist and humorist. Work as an illustrator for French periodicals such as Le Temps, Rire, Sourire, and L’assiette au beurre, led to commissions in fashion illustration, most notably designing for Paul Poiret and his 1908 Les Robes de Paul Poiret.

These wine advertisements were done shortly after Iribe returned to Paris after working in Hollywood from 1914 to 1929, where Cecil B. De Mille is quoted as saying Iribe was the best Art Director he ever worked with.

The first catalogue, Blanc et Rouge, is set in a Paris jazz club and written entirely in dialogue, instructing the consumer to choose a French wine and stay away from other drinks.

Rose et noir. Design by Paul Iribe (1883-1935) and text by René Benjamin (1885-1948). ([Paris]: Etablissements Nicolas, 1931). Edition of 500. Graphic Arts GAX2010 -in process.

The second catalogue, Rose et Noir, has an odd storyline for a wine advertisement. Its narrative follows newlyweds through a downward spiral, brought on by the effects of too many American cocktails (and not enough French wine). Laid in is a booklet written by René Benjamin entitled, “Dialogue moderne en trois temps et trois cocktails” (Modern Dialogue in Three Time and Three Cocktails).

Bleu blanc rouge. Design by Paul Iribe (1883-1935). ([Paris]: Etablissements Nicolas, Draeger Frères, 1932). Edition of 520. Graphic Arts GAX2010 -in process.

The final volume, Bleu Blanc Rouge, has a cover printed in the colors of the French flag. Large folding plates with striking black and white designs argue against foreign drinks such as Russian vodka, German beer, British whiskey, and American Blue Rock mineral water. French wine again comes to the rescue in the end.