Many a fine artist has made a name for themselves depicting the lighthearted and pleasurable pastimes that accompany the kinds of socializing that people have been doing for centuries— with the indulgence in pure fun, dancing, music, good food and wine or beer leading the way to an enjoyment that most anyone can relate to. Bacchus is the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility, and the festivals in his name are a testament to this irresistible human pursuit, reflected in lush and revelrous manner by the hands of some of the art greats.
Alphonse Mucha – Bieres de la Meuse, offset lithograph 1994 (SOLD)
Alphonse Mucha, one of the most well-known and genre-defining painters and poster artists of the Art Nouveau movement, made paramount use of the organic forms of cascading hair, bubbling beer or curling smoke, and of the dramatic body postures of galavanting partygoers. The designs are so strong that it is easy to overlook his compelling attention to details, such as the hops and barley hiding amongst poppies in this masterpiece Bieres de la Meuse (SOLD), or his impeccable illustration power seen in the clothing folds, ecstatic color scheme and thrilling composition of a work like Amants (SOLD). Mucha has bacchanalia down to such a science, in subject as well as rendering, it is no wonder his images are so everlasting in popularity.
Picasso created an entire suite of works titled “Bacchanals,” 35 in total. They are rich with Picasso’s particular temperament and charm, steeped in humor, joy, pleasure and that distinctive carefree quality that works its way into every line. Bacchanale au Hibou and Les Danseurs au Hibou are 1962 linocuts that exude nothing but untamed revelry, and in Luncheon on the Grass, a 1972 stone lithograph printed for a show at Pace Columbus, all of the mysticism and magic that seem to follow Picasso wherever he goes find their way into this enigmatic moment.
Pablo Picasso – Bacchanale au Hibou, linocut 1962
Pablo Picasso – Les Danseurs au Hibou, linocut 1962 and Luncheon on the Grass, stone lithograph 1972
A.M. Cassandre wins again, with what is possibly one of the most famous designs in advertising ever created— his Dubo-Dubonnet was perhaps the first use of animation-like stages of progression, a clever trick that creates an identifying bond with the viewer, and this amongst other artistic choices that are now such favorites they reveal that Cassandre was in his element here, simply showing off. This accessible 1998 offset lithograph reproduction was printed in France by Contact Habillages of Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy in the Côte d'Or region, which will be recognizable to wine lovers everywhere. And Nicolas is another piece of similar printing, a simple and charismatic image that gets to the point a bit quicker.
For another one of Cassandre’s best, this Liqueur Bonal quadriptych is an original edition silkscreen from 1933, a print whose popularity is reflected in its long history in the world of art auctions. The entire image is very large, with each panel measuring 62" x 46", and serves as an unmistakable show piece.
"Bacchus is the Roman god of agriculture, wine and fertility, and the festivals in his name are a testament to this irresistible human pursuit..."
John Clem Clarke – Bacchanal, SIGNED stone lithograph 1972
John Clem Clarke gives us Bacchanal, a signed 1972 stone lithograph describing the very epitome of this image concept from history— complete with grapes in hair, dappling sunlight and draping clothing. This work is from the limited edition portfolio entitled “Radical Realism I,” published by Mother Lode Editions and Hundred Acres Gallery, and sits alongside the likes of works by Ralph Goings and John Salt.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – Troupe de Mlle Eglantine, Mourlot stone lithograph 1966
And for another monumental artist whose unforgettable style and tone probably influenced the nature of socializing itself, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec produced work after work that ignite the spirit of enjoyment of life. His magnetic combination of often serious facial expressions with veritably dancing linework are a fearless and uninhibited depiction of the full range of frequencies experienced in this seductive and glimmering lifestyle, a telling yet alluring parallel with the reality underlying the surface. Troupe de Mlle Eglantine is a 1966 Mourlot-printed stone lithograph, and here a chance to see the sketch La Goulue (Musee d'Albi) which was made for the infamous Moulin Rouge poster shown in this 1957 exhibition poster Lithographies de T-Lautrec, also both Mourlot prints.
Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec – La Goulue (Musee d'Albi), Mourlot offset lithograph 1966 and Lithographies de T-Lautrec, Mourlot stone lithograph 1957
And in what is a first edition stone lithograph of one of the coveted Emile Deyrolle French teaching charts, La Biere details the components of brewing beer with what are now historic descriptive illustrations ripe for understanding. Simply follow the instructions, and you too can soon be enjoying this fermented beverage that has led to much gain and ruin across time, dating back as far as we can remember, and possibly farther into what we cannot.
Emile Deyrolle – La Biere, stone lithograph
Eugene Boudet – Crinolines Sur La Plage, stone lithograph 1965