In 1931, the Nicolas Paris-based wine store chain, produced a deluxe lithographic project , titled, Rose et Noir. This effort was a bid to offset the surge of interest in cocktails, derived from American jazz-age culture. In addition to a cynical little script, covering the banter of an alcoholic modern couple in Paris, there are 9 full-page illustrations by graphic design master, Paul Iribe (1883-1935), evoking , in exquisite art deco air-brush vignettes the presumed toxicity of imbibing high-alcohol-content beverages.
This ghostly beach scene is titled, “The Blossoming of Love” (“Betrothal”). The haziness embraces both the devastating hit of the cocktails and the figures representing an unbeknown early death. That much said, the glorious invention here by Iribe, with its mastery of deco bleeding into the surreal, gives us a most absorbing design as to the perilous mysteries coming to pass in modern life.
The Surrealist heartiness of this march up the aisle could as well be touching upon the libations essential to a wedding day as much as carrying out the assignment to establish the horror of high-alcohol-content “poison.” Here we have both a loving couple in its mist of joy, and a pair of budding alcoholics headed for an early demise.
A twist inheres in the title of this litho, “La Corbeille”(“Wedding Gifts”), in its alarmism that the younger generation dares to make hard liquor part of the flow of gifts.
Laying it on, while still producing delicious graphic touches—the text runs (the landlady speaking), “Here’s the baby’s room. Makes a great bar!”
This sublime visual, titled “Sentimental Journey” (showing the couple returning to the “Betrothal” on the beach, picture 2), presses on to the area’s “American Bar” (with its devilish American plonk), the cliff’s edge being a great place to commit suicide.
Roses et Noirs (1931) Paul Iribe;12 ½” x 10”; litho VII of IX from Rose et Noir
What’s your poison? “Pinks and Blacks” (cocktail ingredients) in unhealthy hues for a place pretending to have some class ( or so Iribe has been instructed to provide). Once again, however, this illustration gives us a most classy slice of late-night Paris. Perhaps an allusion to the film clowns, Laurel and Hardy, has seeped into this one (pure Iribe; a masterful caricaturist ).
La Layette (1931) Paul Iribe;12 ½” x 10”; litho VIII of IX from Rose et Noir
The lady laments foregoing babies for buzz.
“They did however, drink a toast to the baby’s health!” A ghostly denouement, the alcoholic couple having actually produced a child!