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Maxim's 1936 Artist Signed Menu for Gastronomy Club Bellhop with Top Hats and Coats by caricaturist Sem
On May 6, 1936, the Club des Cent met at Maxim's on rue Royale in Paris to enjoy Perrier champagne, caviar, lamb and other fine food fare. The elite club was founded in 1912 and is made up of gastronomes and famous French food critics. Becoming a member is a highly confidential affair involving committee approval and interviews. The members meet weekly, every Thursday from 12:30pm to 2:30pm at Maxim's. Every year, the Club des Cent crowns two chefs and offers them a certificate, considered quite prestigious in the world of gastronomy.
This menu features Maxim's motif of the smiling bellhop with arms piled high with fur coats as he balances top hats on tall poles. Maxim's logo was designed by SEM, the pseudonym for French illustrator Georges Goursat. He was born in 1863 in Périgueux and died in 1934 in Paris. SEM became famous during the Belle Epoque for his caricatures of Paris socialites. When WWI broke out, he was over 50 years old, but became a war correspondent for Le Journal. After the war, he returned to the illustrative style that made him famous.
This menu is just over 5 inches wide and 6.75 inches tall. There are petite holes in the center fold. Perhaps it originally had a silk cord or tassel? There is a slight hint of crease at the top left just above the first center hole. There is a 'shadow' impression about an inch from the right side coat pile. Some of the text bleeds lightly through to the front . These are all very nit-picky things; nothing so detrimental to the overall charm of the menu, which is a historical gem!
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