This painting is “Les buveurs d’absinthe (Les Declasses)”, by Jean-Francois Raffaeli. It is an oil on canvas, painted in 1881. The painting sold for $2,994,500 to the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco.
If the sky opens on our heads,
We put absinthe to our lips.
– Octave Fere & Jules Cuvain, “Les Buveurs d’Absinthe” (1864)
This painting is “Le buveur d’absinthe”, by Jean d’Esparbes (1898-1968).
Paul Verlaine is one of the most famous and talented French Symbolist poets.
It was said by some that he never wrote a bad line. He loved absinthe and drank it often. Instead of saying hello, he was known to introduce himself by saying “I take sugar with it.”
Here is a photo of Verlaine drinking absinthe in the Café François 1er. The photograph was taken in 1892 by Paul Marsan Dornac. It looks much better when clicked on and viewed at a larger resolution.
Verlaine was immortalized by his painter friends, who painted portraits of him during various stages in his life. Below is a portrait of Verlaine painted by Eugène Carrière. Verlaine was also painted by Frédéric-Auguste Cazals, Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, Henri Fantin-Latour, Antonio de la Gándara, and Gustave Courbet.
Paul Verlaine (1844-1896), French Symbolist poet:
“For me, my glory is a humble, ephemeral Absinthe.”
Historically, absinthe has been popular with artists and creative types. Many artists have found that it brings to their minds a certain clarity of thought and inspires them to increase their creative output. Absinthe’s historical allure in this regard, as well as its unique taste, unusual appearance, and mode of preparation, gives it a certain appeal that extends beyond simply ‘drinking’ it. Today, many celebrities enjoy absinthe; below, we offer up a few quotes of celebrities talking about the green fairy.
“For my birthday, I did one shot [of absinthe] to try it, and that was it. I was drunk immediately.”
– Evan Rachel Wood
“The last hour of the night, I was drinking absinthe. There’s not a chance I’m gonna change.”
– Tommy Lee
In the Francis Ford Coppola film “Dracula” (1992), the character of Dracula, played by Gary Oldman, charms Winona Ryder’s character over a glass of absinthe.
Absinthe in “Total Eclipse” (1995)
In this 1995 film depicting the love affair between two artists, the artist played by Leonardo DiCaprio sits at a table where men drink absinthe, as was the custom in those days. Moreover, DiCaprio’s character listens to another artist read aloud a poem entitled “Green Absinthe.”
Absinthe in “Get Him To The Greek” (2010)
In this 2010 comedy starring Jonah Hill and Russell Brand, both of their characters drink absinthe during a night out.