Pink Elephants 100% Cotton Dish Towel San Francisco 1930s

Pink Elephants 100% Cotton Dish Towel San Francisco 1930s

Regular price $ 19.50 $ 0.00 Unit price per

Vintage menu illustrations are works of art and deserve a wider audience. Vintage menu art was established to celebrate the artists who created unique illustrations for hotels, restaurants, bars and diners. Our collection is comprised of menus, signs, and advertising from all over the world. Original art dating from 1813- the 1980s. That's why this image is recreated as a beautiful and useful tea towel for your home or bar cart.

19x29" Super soft and absorbent. 

100% cotton tea-towel printed in UK. 

The euphemism “seeing pink elephants” was first used in the 19th century to describe the hallucinations experienced by drinkers of absinthe, the anise-flavored and highly alcoholic beverage associated with bohemian culture, especially among artists and writers in Paris. Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway and Oscar Wilde were well-known absinthe drinkers.

Absinthe was banned by 1915 but the phrase remained popular up to the 1950s as a way of describing someone who had drunk too much. “I was seeing pink elephants last night” is an elegant way of admitting you had one too many.

This charming pink elephant image, and others in the series, was featured on cocktail napkins in the Cellar Bar in the basement of San Francisco’s Geary Theatre. Described as “a relaxation center for celebrities,” actors such as Clark Gable, Marlene Dietrich and Boris Karloff are likely to have been entertained here after they performed in the theater.

The great American jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck also played here at the start of his career in the 1950s.

This illustration is a great example of the humor and whimsy of vintage menu art.


About LOVEmenuart

We rescue vintage menu art. We seek out menus from restaurants, bars and saloons, cafes, diners, drive-ins, nightclubs and hotels that are on the brink of being thrown away. Some are damaged, so we both physically and digitally repair the wear and tear of time. We get rid of coffee and gravy stains, erase creases and repair paper tears. Some menus are repaired by professional art restorers and others are cleaned up by talented digital artists. Not too much. We want them to show their age – it is part of their charm. 
We also work with a select group of private collectors who share our passion for vintage menu art and who have generously opened their collections to us. We also work with public institutions such as libraries and the Culinary Institute of America.
Our collection of menus from all over the world dates from the late 19th century through the 1970s. Our favorite period is from the years 1930–1960. This was a boom time when proprietors hired celebrated artists and highly talented illustrators to create stunning imagery to market their restaurants and themselves. It was a time when fish smoked pipes and cigars. Prawns and cockroaches wore top hats and spats. Voluptuous brunettes sat astride lobsters and devil like women drained their cocktail glasses in New York bars. 
Our mission is to make sure these historic and imaginative images which record the colorful history of dining out are not forgotten and are seen by more people.


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