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The Picon posters

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affiche ancienne Picon poster original vintagePicon poster 235 x 315 cm, circa 1925

The Picon Posters

In 1992, we had the opportunity to buy all of the material from the Picon distillery (Switzerland) including its stock of advertising objects and posters.

In this industrial wasteland, we discovered a large amount of advertising objects, labels, leaflets, advertising signs together with antique posters. It is with great pleasure that we present our photographic archives, a testimony to the economic power of this brand.

L'apéritif Amer Picon

1928 circa – Severo POZZATI

CHF 1390.–

Picon 1837-1937: un centenaire

1936 – Georges SCOTT

CHF 1720.–

During 150 years, the Picon company produced a multitude of posters, which were designed by artists such as Georges Scott, Gaspar Camps, Sepo, Achille Mauzan, Noël Fontanet, Georges Campbell or Bernard Villemot.


Many of these posters are impossible to find today, but some are still available.

Discover below how a medical decoction would become a major international group of alcohol distributors.

THE 150 YEAR HISTORY OF AMER PICON

Oranges, Quinine and Alcohol


The young Gaetan Picon, of Italian origins, was born in 1809 and began his professional life as an apprentice in a distillery in Marseille. In the beginning of the 1830s, he joined up the French army and served in Algeria.

Gaetan suffered from dysentery, through the drinking of contaminated desert water, as did many of his comrades and also caught the malignant fever malaria.

Amer Picon

1900 circa – SIMONT

Sold

Amer Picon

1910 circa – A. BOUCHET

NewSold

At this time, he heard about a household remedy, made by the infusion of oranges and quinine and combined these with his knowledge of alcohol distillation. He then concocted a mixture of fresh and dried oranges added to alcohol which was flavoured with quinine.

As with all great inventors, Gaetan Picon first tried his invention on himself and was 'healed'.


Today we know that 21° proof alcohol purifies water and vitamin C from the oranges combined with the quinine lowers fever. As with other brand names such as 'Coca-Cola' or 'Schweppes', Amer Picon began its career as a 'medicine'.


An old advertising Picon Bottle
A dummy model >

Bouteille factice Picon

1950 circa – ANONYME

CHF 70.–

New

Healthy Picon, Enjoyable Picon

PICON

1930 circa – René RAVO

Sold


News of this miraculous cure grew in the French Algerian community and sales increased. Gaetan Picon began the production of the drink and it gradually won the reputation of being both a digestive and thirst-quenching.

In 1837, he created a small homemade distillery at Philippeville in Algeria and initially commercialised his recipe under the name of 'Amer African'.
Later, he would change the name to Amer Picon.

Ça! C'est du Vrai Amer Picon

1910 circa – ANONYME

Sold


A great brand of aperitif, which would make a fortune for its creator.

Picon, Amer Picon, Exigez un Picon

1910 circa – ANONYME

CHF 140.–

New

Amer Picon

1925 circa – Gaspar CAMPS

Sold


Gaetan refused to present his Bitter at the 1862 International Exhibition competition in London, however, the mayor of Philippeville sent a hidden case of the drink for the competition. Amer Picon won the bronze medal and so began its international expansion. Several factories were then built to ensure the production at Levallois, Bordeaux, Marseille, Geneva, Barcelona and Buenos Aires.

Pikina, Curaçao and Picon Bière


Picon is usually diluted with water or fizzy water before drinking.

In 1931, the Picon company diversified its production and launched a new drink called "Pikina, an family aperitif made with French wine".

Eventail Pikina Picon

1937 circa – ROBY'S, Georges SCOTT (after)

CHF 40.–

New


The company also developed Curaçao Picon (red) and Curaçao Triple Sec Picon (white), then Pastis PEC. Picon was also mixed with beer and became the celebrated Picon Bière (Picon Beer)

Picon, Pikina, Picon Bière, Curaçao

1962 circa – ANONYME

CHF 15.–

New

"A small third of Curaçao, a third of Lemon, a good third of Picon and a big third of water !"


This is from the famous scene in the film 'Marius' called 'the four thirds', by the playwright Marcel Pagnol, played by the memorable Raimu.

Picon would further be immortalized numerous times by the Seventh Art.

Picon cocktails

1970 circa – ANONYME

CHF 15.–

New
La nouvelle usine Picon construite à Genève en 1947The new Picon factory built in 1947 in Geneva


It is in this factory, which was already closed, that in 1992 we acquired all the Picon posters and objects that you can discover underneath.

Visual testaments of an industrial period of a liqueur that has conquered an empire.

The Picon poster for the Parisian underground

Amer Picon

1925 circa – ANONYME

CHF 2650.–

New


Circa 1925

Magnificent Art Deco poster for the Parisian metro.
Printed in lithography on 4 sheets.
Dimensions 235 x 315 cm.

The Picon poster by Sepo

Maquette pour affiche d'Alcool

1925 – Severo POZZATI

In 1925, the Italian artist Sepo (Severo Pozzati) designed this maquette for a poster of a cubist waiter.
The maquette is dated 1925, although the drink's brand has not yet been added. (Sepo par V. Strukelj, p142)

Severo Pozzati, also known under the pseudonym 'Sepo' was an Italian painter and sculptor. He moved to Paris to took over the direction of the Parisian branch of the celebrated advertising agency 'Maga' of Bologna.

Sepo was principally inspired by Leonetto Cappiello, Cassandre and the Cubism of Pablo Picasso. In 1926, Pozzati left 'Maga' to work with several other advertising agencies such as 'Star', 'Publivox' in Geneva, 'Ricordi' in Milan and even 'Chapuis' in Bologna. It acquired an international reputation, notably for his posters for companies such as 'Noveltex', 'Amieux', 'La Régie Française des Tabacs', 'Lustucru' or 'Picon'.



Finally, it was through the Publivox studio in Geneva, with which Sepo regularly collaborated, that the Picon company would produce this funny and celebrated Art Deco poster.

A cubist waiter sprays a syphon bottle of water.

The combination of red (the usual colour of the brand) on a flashy bright orange background is unusual for the time and was surprisingly modern.

L'apéritif Amer Picon

1928 circa – Severo POZZATI

CHF 1390.–

Picon se boit à l'eau de Seltz

1930 circa – PARIS LE NOVATEUR

CHF 25.–


From the beginning, Picon was drunk neat or with fizzy water from a syphon bottle.

< Cardboard ad cut in the shape of a Syphon bottle which can be clipped on to a Picon bottle.

Affiche suisse >
90 x 128 cm.

Prenez Amer Picon

1946 – RSB

Sold

L'apéritif Amer Picon, Diapositive publicitaire

1935 circa – Severo POZZATI (after)

CHF 25.–

New


Slide for projecting ads in cinemas

Menu Amer Picon, L'Apéritif Exquis

1935 circa – Severo POZZATI (after)

CHF 30.–

New

Mignonettes Picon

1950 circa – ANONYME

CHF 5.–

New


< A small test bottle

Water carafe >
Picon, healthy, enjoyable

Picon, Sain, Agréable

1950 circa – ANONYME

NewSold

THE HOT PICON POSTER

picon posterHot Picon Poster, circa 1935, 160x120cm

un Picon chaud réchauffe votre coeur

1935 circa – ANONYME

CHF 1250.–

New

Contre le froid: Picon chaud, le bon grog

1935 circa – Jean SCELLES

CHF 1510.–


< Large size poster
160 x 120 cm

A slide to be used in cinemas to advertise Amer Picon.

Le bon Grog, l'Amer Picon chaud

1935 circa – Monogramme UHL

CHF 25.–

New


Against the cold, a hot Picon, the tasty grog


The Picon company published numerous advertisements to conquer the winter sports market, and increased its sales during the cold season.


1/3 of Amer Picon

2/3 of hot water

2 sugar cubes

Conseils aux Skieurs, Pour préparer le Picon Chaud

1936 circa – Roland ANSIEAU

CHF 25.–

New

In 1936, Picon & Cie sponsored the national expedition for the scientific exploration of the Himalayas under the patronage of the French Alpine Club.

Here is what Dr. Arlaud, the expedition's chief medical officer, wrote:

Skieurs, Contre le froid et la fatigue, un Picon chaud

1936 circa – S. D. BENVENISTE, J. A. DUPUICH

CHF 25.–

New

"We have started drinking Picon in Camp 1 at an altitude of 5,200m... I made hot Picons for everyone according to your recipe. The effect was remarkable; not only did everyone feel revitalised, but it was also so pleasant that immediately the sceptics became followers and I had to ration it!"

Picon, Lettre du Docteur Arlaud écrite pendant une expédition dans l'Himalaya

1936 circa – S. D. BENVENISTE, J. A. DUPUICH

New

THE PICON POSTER BY NOËL FONTANET

Un bon grog, prenez alors un Amer Picon chaud!

1938 circa – Noel FONTANET

CHF 630.–


A good Grog!
Take a hot Amer Picon then!


A bartender seems to 'juggle' with glasses, a pot of hot water and a bottle of Picon on this comical poster by the Swiss graphic designer from Geneva, Noël Fontanet.

"Skiers! When you go skiing, against the cold and the tiredness, don’t hesitate, have a hot Picon!"

publicité picon publicityHot Picon leaflet

THE PICON DRAGOON

Picon 1837-1937: un centenaire

1936 – Georges SCOTT

CHF 1720.–


For this poster celebrating the company's centenary, Georges Scott, the famous painter of the French army, depicts a proud cavalry officer who abducts a Muslim beauty and wields a bottle of Picon in place of his sword.

The scene takes place in Algeria, the land of oranges where Gaetan Picon invented his aperitif 100 years before.

This image will later be used as the company's logo. Today the 'Messalina' has disappeared as the image was improper.

PIKINA WITH FRENCH WINES

'The family drink'

In 1931, the Picon company launched a new beverage, an aperitif with white and red grapes 'Pikina aux vins de France' (Pikina with French wines) with Picon added.


The company wrote: "An aperitif with old French wines, with a very pleasant taste and the fullness of an old wine where you like to find a slight hint of bitterness brought by the oranges and the quinquina. An all-natural aperitif, without any aromatic products. To be served at room temperature or with two ice cubes."

On this famous poster by Roby in 1934, 2 oxen, one red and one white, pull a cart full of red and white grapes.

Pikina Picon

1936 – ROBY'S

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Pikina aux vins de France, Picon & Cie

1938 circa – ANONYME

CHF 1150.–

With this aperitif 'for the whole family', less sour than the Picon and with less alcohol (only 17°), the company targets women in its marketing campaign.

Pikina

1950 circa – ANONYME

Sold

Pikina aux vins de France, fabriqué par Picon

1930 circa – ANONYME

Sold

Pikina aux vins de France, Fabriqué par Picon & Cie

1930 circa – ANONYME

CHF 420.–

New

Eventail Pikina Picon

1937 circa – ROBY'S, Georges SCOTT (after)

CHF 40.–

New

THE PICON CURACAO


The company also produced Curaçao Picon (red) and Curaçao Triple Sec Picon (white).

"Luxurious Curaçao Picon distilled at 40°, to drink alone or within a cocktail."

Due to their sweet and sour taste, these white or red Curaçao are easily used in different cocktail preparations. It was perfect for the new taste in alcohol that took place during the roaring twenties.

Le Curaçao Picon, Liqueur digestive

1935 circa – ANONYME

CHF 30.–

New

Picon, Le Curaçao Triple Sec

1950 circa – ANONYME

CHF 20.–

New


"Of all the digestive liqueurs, the Curaçao Triple Sec Picon is the most difficult to make because it requires harmony and finesse. A perfect alcohol, a first-class sugar, and above all carefully selected oranges are essential to obtain a top-class liqueur. The peel of these amazing fruits is processed and distilled by specialists. This is how a great liqueur is born, whose perfume and finesse are refined after a long maturing in oak barrels",

wrote the company in an advertising leaflet.

Le Curaçao Picon, Liqueur digestive

1950 circa – ANONYME

CHF 5.–

New

"Finally Madam, the Curaçao Triple Sec Picon will become a must once you have tried it in your baking or in your cooking: pancakes, soufflés, creams, sorbets... will take on an unmatched flavour."

Curaçao chocolate
sweet box >

Le Curaçao Picon, Bonbons chocolat au Curaçao

1950 circa – ANONYME

CHF 50.–

New

Picon Bière

The company promotes a mix that is really appreciated in the North of France and Belgium: the famous Picon Bière (Picon Beer).

The Picon Bière also became cult in movies. In 'Un singe en hiver' (1962), Jean-Paul Belmondo drowns his nostalgia for Spain by drinking Picon Bière and Zezette’s lover gets drunk with the same beverage in 'Le Père Noël est une ordure' (1982).

In the sixties, the company produced a new bottle: a 'special Picon Bière, formulated to go well with any type of beer'.

Bier-Picon

1965 circa – ANONYME

CHF 30.–

New

Do you feel unwell? With a Amer Picon+Bière, you’ll get better!

Sind Sie müde ? Mit Amer Picon+Bier geht's wieder!

1950 – Henri LOUTAN

CHF 260.–

New

Drunk mainly in the north of France or in Belgium, Picon is mixed with beer by the bartender. The company also produced already mixed bottles 'Picon+Bier' for the Swiss German market.

Sind Sie müde ? Mit Amer Picon+Bier geht's wieder!

1950 – Henri LOUTAN

CHF 65.–

New

Several artists sang the praises of the Picon and the Picon Bière, such as Bourvil, Renaud, Patricia Kaas or Mano Solo.

PICON POSTERS IN THE FIFTIES

Advertising objects by Picon

PICON ENAMELLED AND PRINTED SIGNS

Picon & Cie

At the beginning of the sixties, the company wrote:
"From its origins in 1937, Picon was the most famous aperitif in France; it still is the most prestigious, with a worldwide recognition."

"Throughout the years, the Picon company grew and within its 100 years experience as a distiller (Pikina, Curaçao, Pastis Pec, Rhum St James) it also became an alcohol distributor and had the most prestigious selection in France : the Vodka Relsky, the Cognac Prince Hubert de Polignac, the Scotch Whisky Glen Garry, the Vermouth Noilly Prat, the Scotch Whisky Vat 69, the Champagne Heidsieck & C° Monopole."

Rhum Saint-James

1900 circa – ANONYME

NewSold


<Rhum St James poster,
before its acquisition by the Picon company


The well-known Cappiello poster for Vodka Relsky >

Vodka Relsky

1925 circa – Leonetto CAPPIELLO

CHF 1270.–

Pastis PEC

"A PEC is a PEC!"

The pastis PEC was also another product created by Picon & Cie in his factory in Levallois. It was "the oldest Pastis from Marseille", Gaetan Picon’s homeland.

The company wrote: "The pastis PEC remained true to itself… without losing the soul of Marseille, its accent, its sun, its taste and its qualities make it the Pastis of the Canebière."

In France, le pastis PEC was distilled at 45° and in Switzerland at 40° depending on the law.

Pastis Pec, Bouteille factice

1950 circa – ANONYME

CHF 50.–

New

Pastis PEC, 45°

1950 circa – ANONYME

CHF 130.–

Pastis PEC 40°

1960 circa – ANONYME

CHF 70.–

Pastis PEC, 45°

1950 circa – ANONYME

CHF 275.–

New

AMER PICON IN GENEVA

"A liquor that has conquered an empire."

"In Geneva, the Amer Picon General Agency was entrusted to Schmid & Gassler, which was founded in 1884 by Mr. Auguste Baer. The latter, had a wine and liquor store at the corner of the rue du Conseil Général and the Rond-point de Plainpalais.

The company's activity quickly expanded by adding many important wines and liqueur brands to their distribution. As its popularity grew, the house had to set up cellars and warehouses in different parts of the city and its products were increasingly appreciated by connoisseurs.

The continuous growth of the business led its new managers to abandon the old premises and build, on Boulevard de la Cluse, a building benefiting from the latest technical innovations. The building was completed in 1947 from where the whole of Switzerland was supplied with Amer Picon. The popularity of this tonic drink has not been denied, on the contrary it has spread…"

L'Amer Picon à Genève

"This continuous and growing interest is easily explained. The Amer Picon is the friend of good and bad days: the good days when you feel good and when nothing can be more pleasant than a glass of Picon before a meal eaten with a strong appetite, and the bad days when some sneaky flu leaves you sore and coughing and the Picon helps you in the form of a delicious grog."

Cheers!

A COMPETITIVE MARKET

If Rossi had undoubtedly created the first orange vermouth, which inspired the Picon in 1931 for his Pikina, other brands are now developing the same type of products.

Some are copycats such as the Amer Masin with his similar bottle and its poster that looks strangely like the Sepo one.

Apéritif Rossi

1926 circa – Jean DROIT

Sold

Amer Masin, Maison fondée en 1881

1930 circa – VIANO

CHF 2440.–

New

Romano cocktail aperitif

1930 circa – d'apres DERAM

Sold
Apéritf Amer Picon Aperitive

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