The Musée des arts décoratifs has recently plunged into the archives of the spirits manufacturer Ricard. In France Ricard is most well known for a product called pastis — a unique liquor tasting of black licorice, which is consumed before meals into order to prepare the palette for a delicious meal. Its consumption is a French tradition, and so Ricard has become a household name.
At the exhibition Ricard SA depuis 1932 (Ricard Since 1932), the museum retraces 80 years of famous slogans and advertisements, characterized by their distinctive yellow and blue graphics, as well as sports sponsorship and art patronage. This exhibit presents the rich artistic legacy of the Ricard brand and the importance of design in shaping its public image. Eye-grabbing colors are the first thing that visitors will notice about these ads, which tempt the spectator with images of fun and leisure.
A variety of objects are also on display at the exhibit, a collection of ashtrays and pitchers augment the sense of laid-back enjoyment. The pitcher is an essential part of the Ricard story, as pastis is always mixed with water before it is consumed. Therefore, pastis is invariably served with a pitcher of water that often displays the Ricard name, which visitors will be able to see at the museum (as well as at the bistro around the corner).
Another interesting story recounted by the exhibit is the complicated relationship between alcohol and advertisement. Ever since absinth was outlawed in 1915, alcohol advertisements have been subjected to strict regulations. For those in the alcohol industry, like Ricard, that meant finding a delicate balance between publicizing the product and respecting the law. Until August 26, 2012 guests staying at the Hotel de la Tour Maubourg can discover this story at the Musée des arts décoratifs.