Born in Paris but of Dutch ancestry, Ibels started out as a stage decorator and play producer, then entered the Academie Julian where he associated himself with the Nabi group. He kept up his contacts with the acting profession, designing scenery for the Theatre Libre and the Theatre de l'Art and producing posters for their programs. His work was exhibited mostly at La Bodiniere, a gallery within the Theatre de l'Application. In 1893, together with Toulouse-Lautrec, he published an album titled ''Cafe-Concert,'' with portraits of various music-hall artists. He even stretched his talents to designing costumes for some plays, and later in life wrote theatrical critiques.
As a painter, and a poster artist, Ibels made regular contributions to the popular Parisian humour magazines at the turn of the century. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec began creating lithographic posters after receiving encouragement from Ibels.
Ibels and Lautrec were the major contributors to a curiously short-lived publication, L'Escarmouche, which lasted only three months from November, 1893 to January 1894. Yet in this brief period, the magazine drew on what could be termed a million-dollar pool of talent. Ibels himself designed the first cover and this poster. Like Steinlen and other artists of similar leanings, Ibels had a predilection for the common people, and the scene he chooses here, a typical unpretentious tavern and its frequenters, crops up often in his work.
[Jack Rennert, Posters of the Belle Epoque]