After the dust had settled from WWII, people were ready to get back to (or experience for the first time) the good life that had been interrupted by decades of war and depression. These desires manifested quite literally on wallpapers, and during the 1950s there was a trend for designs depicting everything from household appliances to dinner parties to automobiles – the material associations of a pleasant and easy existence. This fun wallpaper from German manufacturer Marburger Tapetenfabrik exemplifies the trend, and combines what are perhaps two of the most fun ways to distract oneself from a gloomy past: cocktails and travel!

Pastel scenes of aspirational destinations are printed on a slate-gray ground, giving the impression of drawings on a chalk board. The Eiffel Tower, London Bridge, the Kölner Dom, a Venetian canal and the Empire State Building are scattered about the page amid depictions of cocktails, liquor bottles, bars and the glamorous women (in various states of dress and undress) that enjoy imbibing in such locales. A jolly Benedictine monk offers up a bottle of his order’s namesake liquor, a cancan dancer does her thing while holding a paradies cocktail, and a heart-shaped hot air balloon is an advertisement for corso aperitifs. If the visual message isn’t clear enough, the designer has also written out the names of the beverages illustrated. Some of the drinks mentioned – like manhattans, flips, and stings – are still in the normal repertoire of bartenders today. Others – like the “blondes gift,” or the intriguingly titled “wünder night” – have become a bit more obscure. While the prospect of sampling all these drinks in one evening should be viewed with some trepidation, mixing them all together on a single wallpaper results in a rather pleasant outcome.

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