Friday, September 12, 2008

Willi's Wine Bar Posters

Since 1983, Willi's Wine Bar in Paris has released an annual Bottle Art Poster by internationally recognized artists. Willi's is at 13 Rue de Petits Champs, a little north of the Jardin de Tuileries...if you're in the city.

The first edition (left) of their Bottle Art Series was actually a 1935 piece of art by AM Cassandre which had never been published before. The poster was probably part of an advertising campaign created in the 1930s for another wine shop, Nicolas--and for some reason was never used, at least until Willi's Wine Bar selected it.

This year's release (right) is by Jean Charles de Castelbajac, and you can buy it online for around $80 (or $450 for one of the 200 posters signed by the artist), here. Some of the out-of-print posters sell for close to a thousand dollars, so that seems a fair price. (Trivia point: Castelbajac's first Parisian store sat next to Willi's in the 1980s.)

Many of the past years' posters are available on line and they include art by photographer Lyu Hanabusa, scultor Alberto Bali, artists Tom Fowler, Wayne Ensrud, and others.

2nd trivia point: in the late 1970s, Mark Williamson, owner of Willi's Wine Bar, worked briefly for Steven Spurrier at Spurrier's specialty wine shop, Caves de la Madeleine. Spurrier was the instigator/organizer of the 1976 "Judgement of Paris" tasting that put Napa wines on the map, and is played by Alan Rickman in the movie Bottle Shock.

And--this is really trivial--I went to Napa and just missed the movie location filming. Dang! Would have loved to get a menu or something signed by Professor Snape.


Anonymous said...

Saw you site and understand you know about Willi's Wine Bar posters. I have an original 1989 Wayne ENSRUD signed framed hand painted poster by the artist and was thinking of selling it. Do you have any suggestions or could you point me in the right direction?

Vix said...

Eek--sorry! I know no more than I posted. My guess is that there are dealers who handle this sort of thing, and you might even email Willi's to get a referral to a dealer.

jenn said...

Lynn, very interested in your 1989 Willi's poster. let me know!

jenn said...

Lynn, very interested in 1989 Willi's poster. Let me know!

Anonymous said... poster is signed by the artist, and me at if you are interested.

mike mitchell said...

I recently purchased a Willi's Wine Bar Paris. Designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. It is signed by Mark to Willy at Lahaina Yacht Club, Lahaina Maui HI. I am Interested if there is any Value to this Print. Let me know