21 November 2013
"Nunc est Bibendum" Michelin poster by O'Galop, 1898
Sold for $46,000
48 in. x 60 in. (120 cm x 150 cm)
This wonderful poster, another significant piece of 19th century automotive art, features the unmistakable image of Michelin’s iconic mascot, Monsieur Bibendum. Marius Roussillon, working under his pseudonym O’Galop, dreamed up Bibendum, who is seated at a banquet and raising a toast with a goblet that is filled to overflowing with assorted road debris. His companions alongside, not made of such strong stuff, are literally deflated by it all, while Bibendum “drinks up the obstacles.”
This poster, with its green background and red lettering, is highly significant, as it is a first-edition example that was produced in 1898. The following year, Michelin changed their official colors to blue and yellow; subsequent editions of this poster bore these new colors in place of green and red, and they featured a simplified design. This is one of only a few surviving 1898 first editions, and it is believed to be the first offered for public sale in some time.