The wildest, most luxurious madness in the world

I think I shall have to plan a trip to visit my friends in Zurich next year. I would very much like to go shopping.

In my living room, I have a print of the poster shown above. It’s huge — 40 by 55 inches — and dominates the wall, which is exactly the effect I intended.

When I was a grad student living in Boston, a nearby vintage print dealer had an original hanging in his front window. I never went in to look at it close up, because I knew I’d buy it, even though I couldn’t afford it. (I was busily spending my stipend and additional school loans on ski trips, blackjack, and beer.)

I’ve since learned that, as vintage posters go, this is a classic. It was created in 1920 by Leonetto Cappiello, an Italian designer who worked in France and whose style changed advertising fundamentally. And I’ve since figured out that it’s an ad for a brand of absinthe, which carries its own history and mystique, and about which I’ve long been curious. So it embodies many of my passions in a single item, and is amazingly cool to look at.

I plan someday to buy an original of the Maurin Quina poster — they’re not too hard to find, and as vintage posters go not completely unaffordable, but properly framed are beyond my means just now (see previous post for details). Once I do, I look forward to gazing upon it while sipping a glass of true Swiss absinthe. Who knows what I’ll see.