The man had known the obscure night of the soul,
and lay even now in the valley of humiliation…
But for a little while he had forgotten.
– Ernest Downson (1867-1900), “Absinthia Taetra”
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).
Today’s theme is absinthe painter & absinthe drinker Viktor Oliva (1861-1928)!
Last week, someone asked if the famous painting “Absinthe Drinker” by Viktor Oliva is available as a print. It is, and the print is really popular. Here is the link. Click on the thumbnail below for a hi-res scan of “Absinthe Drinker.”
Around 1903, painter Viktor Oliva was celebrating with a lady friend. He wrote in his diary, “As I looked at her through my [champagne] glass, and saw her beautiful form, it looked as if the Green Fairy herself was swimming inside. What a wonderful pairing that would be!” Absinthe and champagne!
Writer Ernest Hemingway also loved absinthe with champagne.
In fact, Hemingway invented the absinthe cocktail “Death in the Afternoon“. Hemingway’s instructions are: “Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly.” Lucid does not recommend the last step, unless you are Ernest Hemingway.
According to his diary entries, painter Viktor Oliva (1861-1928) regularly drank absinthe at Cafe Slavia in Prague, which is still serving absinthe after over 130 years! In fact, Cafe Slavia’s modern day patrons eat and drink under Oliva’s original painting “Absinthe Drinker” (c. 1903) hanging on the wall.
- In 2007, Lucid becomes the first absinthe available in the U.S.A. in nearly 100 years!
- In 2008, a study in The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry proves that absinthe is not — and never was — hallucinogenic.
- In 2010, Christie’s auctions Picasso’s “The Absinthe Drinker” for a record breaking $45-60 million!
- In 2011, Lucid is mentioned in Maxim Magazine (South American edition). Absinthe finally goes mainstream!
- In 2012, Lucid celebrates its 5th anniversary on March 5th, National Absinthe Day!