Date: c. 1910
Size: 12 x 19.5 inches
Notes: Carton (Printed on Cardboard)
Mihály Biró (1886-1948) was a Hungarian political and commercial poster artist whose Art Nouveau style brought artistic flair to early twentieth century works of propaganda, including posters for war loans and charity events. His contact with members of the Social Democratic Party in Hungary led him to become the leading graphic artist of the newspaper Nepszava (People’s Voice). Biró served on the Serbian front, and in 1920 published the “Horthy album,” detailing the terrors of violence and war he had witnessed.
A pupil of Charles Ashbee, Biró was largely inspired by the English Arts and Crafts movement as well as by the German and English magazines Simplissimus and Punch. Clean lines, refined design and very sharp wit are Biró trademarks, all evident in this carton from the early 1900s. Biró's work is highly sought-after and tough to find. Rarer still are non-political Biró pieces. This is one of two cartons recently purchased in London.
The whimsy of the figure in this advertisement exemplifies the hedonistic pleasure of smoking. Voila cigarette rolling papers were the brand of choice for the upper class - as this monocled and well-fed smoker attests.
Carton (printed on hard cardboard and most likely used for in-store advertising) is in excellent condition and ready to be framed.