Absinthe Art

Sepulchritude Forum: The Absinthe Forum Archives Thru July 2001: Absinthe Art
By Head_Prosthesis on Saturday, May 12, 2001 - 01:09 am: Edit

A little of what I like to call "take it outsider" Art...

the Ring

By Head_Prosthesis on Saturday, May 12, 2001 - 12:45 am: Edit

"he was all like 'whatchoo talkin bout, fool?"

I was inspired.

By Head_Prosthesis on Friday, May 11, 2001 - 09:35 pm: Edit

tee hee

Text description

By Petermarc on Friday, May 11, 2001 - 07:06 pm: Edit


By Tomjoad on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 09:59 pm: Edit

Here is a poor scan.
A Table at a Cafe

By Verawench on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 02:00 pm: Edit


Here's a Juan Gris.. not what you're looking for but the mustached fellow *is* enjoying a glass of the green. Even with cubism, the famous hollow gaze still stares out at us...

By Tomjoad on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 10:07 am: Edit

I've seen one of the MOMA versions of the sculpture at a Picasso exhibit at the Los Angeles Co. Museum. The catalog states that the painted dots are a broadly handled pointillism that may denote "atmosphere" or transparency. It is doubtful that Picasso intended the resemblance of a face. Brook Adams argues that, sculpted during the intense debate over absinthe, it may represent a contrary homage to the inspiring pleasures of disrupting one' senses, and to the intoxicating or dangerous freedoms of bohemian cafe life.
My favorite cubist is probably Juan Gris. I wish I could find his Table at a Cafe on the net. It shows a Dubonnet matchstriker, an absinthe glass with spoon, and a carafe.

By Artemis on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 10:05 am: Edit

"Picasso's absinthe glass is very famous; it's often cited as a major turning point in sculpture.
Below is a good description of it ... "

I've got a better one. Somebody threw a rusty absinthe spoon into the trash. Somewhere on the way to the dump, the garbage truck hit a pothole. A mass of assorted waste material including the spoon fell out. You see the frightening result. And people say the Absente posters are crap.

By Mr_Rabbit on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 09:59 am: Edit

I read somewhere Picasso himself strongly denied the face in the glass- he was all like 'whatchoo talkin bout, fool?'

He said something about the glass rising up to clash violently with the spoon, but completely denied there was any anthropomorphism.

By Petermarc on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 08:11 am: Edit

eh voilà...

By Pataphysician on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 07:38 am: Edit

Picasso's absinthe glass is very famous; it's often cited as a major turning point in sculpture. Below is a good description of it from Jean Sutherland Boggs: "Picasso and Things". Picasso did many paintings of absinthe drinkers in his "Blue Period" and, later, a few Cubist paintings of bottles, glasses, etc.

"Sometime in the spring of 1914 Picasso made a wax piece of sculpture of an absinthe glass, which seems very different from his other constructions of that spring like the relief of 'Glass and Die'. The wax was not in itself very large - about 8 1/2 inches high. It was unusual in having been modeled, so that the artist's finger marks are detectable, instead of having been constructed, and in having been conceived in the round instead of as a relief. Picasso did several disturbing things with his sculpture at this stage. One was by denying the capacity of the glass to hold liquids by opening up one wall of the upper part of the goblet so that any absinthe would pour like a fountain into the basin he built at the top of its base. The second was to treat the glass like a highly distorted human head, the opening in the wall the equivalent of a human eye with a great projecting eyelid, which is repeated on the opposite closed side of the 'face' as well, by modeling a great nose which begins between the two eyes but swings boldly to the open area and projects great upper lips which would interfere with the movement of absinthe to the basin of the lower lips below. The conical base is the neck. Although the top of the head or glass was left open, it was to be provided with a hat, made of a silver absinthe spoon and a bronze cube of sugar. Kahnweiler had six bronzes cast from the wax model, the wax disappearing in the casting; and Picasso painted each quite differently.

"Philadelphia's version is one of three that Picasso painted with a certain decorative esprit, relieving the heavy musculature of the face by seemingly sprinkling dots of color and using decorative bands of paint. The other two are in the Museum of Modern Art (Daix 756) and the collection of Heinz Berggruen (Daix 755). In their jauntiness the face is made to seem an innocent caricature, a witty spoof. The three others are more elegant. The one that Kahnweiler not Picasso--kept for himself, which is in the exhibition, is the most nearly monochromatic."

By Petermarc on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 07:08 am: Edit

would have been more interesting if it had been different...volpane?

By Absinthesque on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 06:28 am: Edit

Peter, I suspect Volpane is mistaken about the materials, as the Barr book lists the sculpture as being in the Philadelphia Museum. . .The photograph (which is black and white) matches Volpane's description, and I'm quite sure I saw the piece there myself, though it was some years ago.


By Petermarc on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 06:15 am: Edit

the sculpture you refer to is in bronze (painted differently each time) with an absinthe spoon...this one is described as being made with paper pulp...

By Absinthesque on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 05:26 am: Edit

I've seen that Picasso and believe it's a fairly well-known and significant piece in his oeuvre. . .According to Albert Barr in "Picasso: Fifty Years of His Art" - "An epitome of rococo Cubism is the little painted bronze Glass of Absinthe. . .it is a minor but daring tour de force. It is also probably the only piece of sculpture (as distinguised from constructions) produced by Picasso during the many years between 1910 and 1925." It was sculpted in Avignon in 1914 and six bronze castings were made; each one is painted differently.

An art historical note, Picasso's Cubist collages predate Dada. The sculpture, if indeed it incorporates a real absinthe spoon, would be the more significant for incorporating a found object in a sculptural medium at such an early date. If memory serves, absinthe appears in many paintings by Picasso during the Cubist phase of his career, although I didn't notice any others in Barr.


By Petermarc on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 03:31 am: Edit

how did you change the subject?
too bad you couldn't get a photo of it...

By Volpane on Monday, May 07, 2001 - 02:11 am: Edit

Not to change the subject, but to pick up on promoting little seen absinthe art; the Philadelphia Museum, which has such a huge and fabulous collection of art that they even have a separate shrine for all the Rodin statues (I really can't say enough about their wonderful collection, starting with Seargent's Madame X (one of them, at least), two Van Goghs (one features sunflowers) and one whole room dedicated to my favorite surrealist, Marcel Duchamp (He even completed the collection by donating an installation piece that features an original barn door imported from France (hint: it becomes a wonderful peepshow frame))),


...the museum has an early Picasso "found-object" cubist style statue (only about a foot tall) of a parfait glass of absinthe, featuring a real antique absinthe slotted spoon. It sits in a room surrounded by his other cubist painting where he often incorporated pieces of newspaper and other flat objects into the painting itself, after the Dadaists. His three musicians is mounted in a nearby gallery.

I don't believe I have ever seen the absinthe statue referenced in any art book about Picasso, although I've read he was always tinkering with statues made of found objects. To further describe it: it is drab grey being mostly made of paper pulp, then the metal spoon and topped by what looked like a small square of wood, painted white for the sugar cube. It even looked dirty and faded somewhat, like it had sat for years in a window in Picasso's workshop and then he sold it to an admiring visitor...a little sorry looking, really, but a wonderful example of the artist's talent for improvisation and abstraction. Has anyone else seen this work? I think Picasso is generally overexposed despite the vastness and variety of his skills and inventiveness, and I am not prone to like his pieces immediately, but I couldn't help falling in love with this lovingly crafted little tribute to the Green Fairy.


By Germanandy on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 04:40 pm: Edit

hey, there is robert de niro (the second from left)

By Petermarc on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 04:31 pm: Edit

well, maybe except for the guy on the left who looks like he's used to wearing handcuffs...

By Petermarc on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 04:24 pm: Edit

the guys

By Heiko on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 12:01 pm: Edit

Kevin, when I look at people drinking bitters and cheap liquor out of the bottle directly after they bought it in the supermarket, I cannot see joy in their faces as well.
The "noble" absinthe drinkers I have seen on old photographs always look pretty self-assured and clear-minded (as far as you can tell from a photograph for which people had to hold their position for 20 seconds...)

By Anatomist1 on Saturday, May 05, 2001 - 10:32 am: Edit

What, you mean they didn't eat bran cereal, and take multivitamin/antioxidant suppliments?
Anyone who drinks 15 shots of anything before lunch sounds like they are creating their own violent agony of life. Didn't they at least have Jack LaLane back then? He's like 140 years old.


By Chrysippvs on Friday, May 04, 2001 - 07:17 pm: Edit


What you are drinking is often radically different in quality to what they drank. Atop that notice that many of these paintings feature vagabonds, prostitutes, etc....people that drank to escape the violent agony of life.

I have read records of people drinking over 15 glasses before noon...imagine doing that for several years..and you can see why they looked like that...

- J

By Anatomist1 on Friday, May 04, 2001 - 06:42 pm: Edit

Sorry, I guess that would be the guy on the right. I was just seeing it from his perspective. The guy on the left is just ruining his skin, lungs, tastebuds, and giving himself cancer. That's not depressing at all.


By Anatomist1 on Friday, May 04, 2001 - 06:40 pm: Edit

Why do all the absinthe paintings depict some lonesome loser grimacing or drooping in abject despair? I actually feel pretty damn good when I drink absinthe, or any alcohol... at least until it wears off. That guy on the left looks somebody killed his dog or put his scrotum in a meat ginder. What gives?


By Heiko on Friday, May 04, 2001 - 12:06 pm: Edit

I was wondering about the colors, too. The other jpegs on this site are all in color.
What struck me about it first was that it was an oil-painting in b/w (am I right that you don't find that very often?).
I have a faible for b/w though, so I also like it this way (but I agree it would be interesting to see the original version).

By Morriganlefey on Friday, May 04, 2001 - 10:48 am: Edit

Gorgeous! Thank you, Heiko. However, it appears this work was originally in (dark & muted) color. The text on the link refers to "he revels in the ebony-black of the suits before the deep red of the settee, bounded by the grey tones of table and wall." I'd love to see the color version, if it can be located.

- M

By Wolfgang on Friday, May 04, 2001 - 10:41 am: Edit

Thank`s, I had only found this one in very small format, now I got a décent JPG ;-)

By Heiko on Friday, May 04, 2001 - 09:46 am: Edit

As I have never seen this painting on any Absinthe-related site before, I thought I should post it.
It's called "Man Smoking and Absinthe Drinker" by Honoré Daumier 1808-1879.

man smoking and absinthe drinker
Oil on wood. 27 x 34.5 cm. Painted in 1856-1860. Maison, I-105.

btw I found it here: http://www.buehrle.ch/index.asp?lang=e&id_pic=22

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