Vin Mariani, Popular French Tonic Wine by Jules Chéret, Japon lithograph, 1896


Vin Mariani was the world's first commercial cocaine-based product, pre-dating the notorious cocaine-based soda Coca Cola by over two decades. The stimulating elixir was so popular that the manufacturer published a book containing the vast amounts of testimonials, ranging from visionaries like Thomas Edison and Jules Verne to the pope himself. Sarah Bernhardt, the world's most famous actress of the age, said “My health and vitality I owe to Vin Mariani.”

Stone lithograph of Vin Mariani by Jules Chéret, commissioned by chemist Angelo Mariani and published in 1896 by Imprimerie Chaix, Paris. While a much larger edition of Vin Mariani was created on regular paper, this example comes from the extremely scarce edition of 25 strikes on Imperial Japon paper, a mulberry bark-based stock inspired by the smooth-surfaced papers used in Japanese printmaking. The rare, small format poster lithographs created at this time were printed using rich, dense, lead inks. Each color is brilliant, vibrant, and impossible to recreate with today's soy based inks.

Paper measures 8 71/6 x 12 3/8 inches. Faint pencil lines in margins, Image completely unaffected. Very minor impression in paper surface in right margin, paper intact. All edges intact and free of tears or chipping. Image is immaculate and will frame beautifully. This artwork is presented in archival rag mat and arrives accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.

Notable museum collections containing this work include: Rijksmuseum, Netherlands (large-format version) (RP-P-1912-2483)

Notable museum collections featuring works by Jules Chéret include: Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City; Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Detroit Institute of Arts, Michigan; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C; and more.