Peanuts (not Schulz)

Jan Toorop, Advertisement for Delft Salad Oil, 1894

Jan Toorop (1858-1928) designed this poster around the same time as Henry Van De Velde finished his famous poster for Tropon. I got the two confused in my book American Design in 2008, and called Tropon (the product) a salad oil. It is not. It is a protein supplement derived from egg whites and came in a tube.

It appears healthier eating might have been part of the emerging Art Nouveau movement as Toorop’s lithograph clearly shows a bottle of…peanut oil. Yes, under “Deftsche Slaolie,” in the left-hand corner, you see a square full of…peanuts.

It’s not often you see such over-the-top treatment of a rather common commodity nor one that is so much a part of the Art Nouveau aesthetic but with such an highly individualistic style, as seen in the hook-like barbs that are the hair of the seated figure, who is mixing up a gigantic serving bowl of butterleaf lettuce and…peanut oil. Contact with the Dutch colonies in Indonesia offers a partial explanation.