The World is My Oyster…..

August 7, 2012 § 1 Comment


Prunier by Pierre Falize (1876-1953)  is a jolly image of a fishmonger walking out of the sea with his fresh catch, ready to serve the public.  The fish in his arms looks a little surprised, the scallop is already steaming, but what always catches my eye with this poster is the basket of oysters on his head.

To me, a skilled  oyster shucker is like a good bartender.  Friendly, quick and willing to share their knowledge. Perhaps to coax their patron to try new things, to give tem to permission to have more.  Anyway, the jolly fellow on Prunier definitely looks like someone I would chat up upon ordering my first half dozen.

The text “Livre vite et bien” translates to mean “Service fast and good” and “Fin a Aout a mi-Juin” to “From late August to mid June”  This relates to the fact that oysters were for many years only served in months with an R in them, when they were said to be at their peak. Oysters in the summer months can sometimes be soft and milky, and there was a myth that summer oysters could be poisonous.  Many Atlantic oysters do spawn in the summer months, so it is possible that fisheries discouraged  fisherman from catching them then to increase supply.  Here on the west coast we have many varieties of oysters which are at their peak in the summer.

Lastly “Maree…. Cuisine” translates to   “Tide, kitchen” the phrase from the tide to the kitchen meant that only the freshest fish, cooked, immediately upon it’s catch is served at Prunier.

Prunier was founded in 1872, as an oyster shop and bar  at 16 Avenue Victor Hugo in the 6th Arrondisment of Paris.   Over time, it grew to be a favorite spot for Americans and Russians to gather, as oysters were not yet a favorite dish of  the French.  In 1901, the Prunier family added a full restaurant, and continued to expand until in the 1920’s the two story restaurant covered almost one half of the street.  In the gay 20’s,  Prunier was host to over 1,000 customers per day, who consumed 17,000 oysters and 3-4 tons of fish daily. The restaurant is still in in business today.

Our Prunier poster is an original, printed in Paris in the 1920s.  It is in very fine condition, mounted onto linen by our skilled paper conservator, to archival standard, and is ready to frame.  The poster measures 84″ x 53″. Please call or email for more information.

Visit the restaurant’s website

Read more about the restaurant’s history

Elizabeth Norris Image

Owner Vintage European Posters , established 1997

2201 Fourth Street Berkeley, CA 94710

510 843-2201


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§ One Response to The World is My Oyster…..

  • Jon says:

    I have been lunching a lot recently at GulfStream in Newport Beach. They are lucky enough to have one of these!

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