This exquisite vintage poster has been loved and admired for many years. Its classic, old-world vision of the innocence and purity of the wine-making process, with clergy and boy acolyte officiating in what is portrayed as a quasi-religious experience, does tug at the heartstrings. Additionally, its beautiful art nouveau style is captivating.
However, the full title of this poster, Rathauskeller der Stadtbozen Sudtirol, suggests a different message. Rathauskeller (the historical spelling of ratskeller) is the German word for a bar in the cellar of a city hall, and this rathauskeller was located in the town hall of Bozen in South Tirol in what was Austria-Hungary. In essence, then, the purpose of this poster is to attract customers to a bar to drink its exquisitely made wine.
The date of this poster has been placed anywhere from the early 1900s to the 1930s. Most likely it was printed before World War I. Prior to the war, the town of Bozen was in Austria-Hungary. At the end of the war, it was ceded to Italy and referred to as Bolzano. This poster, with its German language and its reference to Bozen (rather than Bolzano), suggests that it was printed when the town was still part of Austria-Hungary.
The crest at the bottom of the poster is that of Bozen/Bolzano, and the scene in the background is of the city hall, with the Dolomite mountain range sketched out in the background.
Albert Stolz (1875-1947), an Austrian painter, designed this poster. He was born in the South Tyrolean region of Austria-Hungary.