by the Delval Collective, 1930s
linen backed lithograph, 120 x 160 cm (unframed)
The story of Fap’Anis is steeped in history and intrigue. Credited as the first alcohol beverage in the history of alcoholic beverages to be a triumph based solely on its marketing material, Fap’Anis was conceived by Delval, a collective of intellectuals inspired by Proust’s early 20th century parodies.
Delval had no intention of creating a drink, they were satirising class structure. They produced this distinctive poster as well as a series of advertisements for Parisian film theatres voiced by actors with arch bourgeoisie accents and littered with the stereotypical contemptful thieving poor. The parody in the advertisements was lost on the bourgeoisie, however, and by 1932 the clamour for the drink drove Delval to turn to Distillateurs Les Fils d’Auguste Peureux who created a fortified liqueur infused with secret herbs and a hint of anise. Upon its release in 1933, Fap’anis was an instant success with the bourgeoisie, a remarkable feat given that it was well over a month before the first review of the drink appeared in Le Figaro (from which the wealthy generally took their consumption queues following its purchase in 1922 by perfume millionaire François Coty).
Despite the advertisements containing disdainful depictions of the lower classes, especially in those starring the Fap’Anis swilling feather wearing bourgeoisie heroine Clotilde, the fortified liqueur became one of the most sought after drinks by the proletariat who realising they would never climb in status could nonetheless drink like the bourgeoisie if they were prepared to part with 4 1/2 months’ average salary for a bottle.