Henri Mouron Casandre was one of the best known posterists of the 1920’s and 30’s. His designs were completely innovative and inspirational for his time. Viewed by many as his most popular image was his triptych designed for Dubonnet.
“It was . . . issued in an a variety of formats so that it could be used on billboards, in the Metro tunnels, on writing pads given out on the railroads, and so forth. Whether or not Cassandre was thinking of comic strips or motion pictures is impossible to say, but in any case this Dubonnet [triptych] is his most overtly witty . . .In the first panel . . . the Dubonnet man eyes the glass . . . and color is added to the parts of him that are involved in this sizing up process. As the design moves along, more color is added until the contented man and his table are completely filled in as he pours his second glass” (Brown & Reinhold, p. 17). The classic “Dubo Dubon Dubonnet sequence . . . which were to lend themselves to a number of comical variations, have immortalized the typically French aperitif . . . Dubo Dubon Dubonnet is without question AMC’s most popular poster. Three factors can be invoked to explain the popularity of the seated figure: a) the synthetic simplicity of the design (which is based on straight lines, right angles and perfect circles); b) the eloquently expressed gesture (their plasticity being further enhanced by the disproportionate size of the head, hands and bottle); c) the fact that the theme is treated as an animated sequence . . . According to Cassandre, the pun ‘Dubon Dubonnet’ (good Dubonnet) already existed; he merely extended it by adding the syllables ‘Dubo’ ( = du beau, beautiful) and repeating the illustration, with variations, in three panels” (Mouron, pp. 54 & 157-158)
Now that we are in the 21st century, it is amusing and entertaining to see what a modern interpretation of Cassandre’s work looks like. For a flesh and blood recreation of the famous triptych, watch the full video clip below. It is well worth the 2 minutes.