Article #17 - originally published in the March/April 2002 issue of "The Cigar Label Gazette"

cigar label art author pic Did You Know?
by Chip Brooks

Article #17


I hope everyone is having a great start to this New Year!  I want to thank Ed for the calendar he sent out last month.  It is always nice to start the New Year off with a neat gift, especially one that is so beautiful and useful.  I would also like to thank everyone that dropped by my web site in December and took the time to comment on Marilyn's Christmas poem and artwork.  She really did an exceptional job this year.

Did You Know?

Several months ago I received an E-mail from a couple in Canada.  They had visited a museum in Maple Creek, Saskatchewan and discovered an original oil painting titled "Affair of Honuor".  They mentioned that they had seen the same image on my web site Theme page under 'Nudes' titled El Duelo.  I thought that was pretty darn cool and I immediately started thinking...which came first-the cigar label or the original oil painting?

Affair of Honuor original painting

I have tried to find out more info on the oil painting but it is not signed by the artist and no other information is available.  My Canadian couple mentioned that there was a second oil painting that is associated with "Affair of Honuor" in which one of the women has been wounded and is lying by the tree dying.  Again there was no other information available on this painting...not even a title.

El Duelo cigar label

My curiosity was working overtime at this point, so I pulled out my March 1933 issue of Fortune magazine and discovered below the El Duelo image a statement that said El Duelo was a ripoff of another cigar label titled El Dueno.  I have never seen nor have found El Dueno listed or referenced anywhere else.  Now we have not 1, but 2 similar cigar label images that mirror an original oil painting.

What do we know about El Duelo?  At the time it was printed in the 1933 Fortune magazine it was a Consolidated Litho image.

Side Note:
This becomes a great example of why it is so hard to trace back the origins of a litho.

Consolidated Litho was created in 1926 as the result of a buyout of Pasbach-Voice (1914-1926).  Consolidated Litho was located in Brooklyn, N.Y. from 1926-1952 and Long Island from 1952-1980.  Consequently, we don't know if Pasbach-Voice or Consolidated Litho printed the original label.  At the time I thought this was a nice tidbit of info and very interesting but 'an article it did not make'.  Still don't know which came first?

Vanity print

Sometime later, Judy Hill sent an E-mail directing me to an auction on eBay for a print of an original painting titled "Vanity" by Ferdinand Keller.  I immediately recognized the image, although it was in b/w, as the one used for Speckled Sumatra.

Speckled Sumatra cigar label

The label version is in vivid color, non-embossed, early and quite outstanding.  This image is also known as Good Shape and Full Dress.  The lithographer (L.E.N. & Co., N.Y.) was the same on all of the titles...just different brands.  By now I'm thinking, "Wow!  A couple more discoveries like this and I will have enough info for a 'Did You Know' article."

The search began...
I started going through my collection looking for more examples and ran across a small advertisement booklet from the Berriman Bros. out of Chicago.

Berriman booklet

Berriman would print small pocket size booklets with classic b/w reproductions of nude oil paintings to promote their cigar line.  They stated in their booklet that "We are closer to the consumer of Cigars than any factory in the United States...because we make all of our own Cigars and sell direct to the retailer."  I think they were closer because they sent out a cool booklet full of nude women.

Odalisque print

One of the paintings in the booklet is "The Odalisque" by P. Szvailler.  As label collectors we know the image as White Slave.

White Slave cigar label

By the way...Odalisque means: Enslaved woman in harem: an enslaved woman or concubine, formerly in a Turkish harem.

The search continues...
In one of my Euro label books I came across a label titled Germaan.  I knew it was the artist Rembrandt but I wasn't sure if it was ripped off from another original painting or not.

Germaan cigar label

I contacted my Dutch buddy Pieter Mars (an art dealer & Rembrandt expert) in Holland and asked him about the cigar label.  He said it was indeed Rembrandt and was copied from the famous original self-portrait by the same artist known in the art world as the B21 (Bartsch catalogue).

B21 etching

Briefly, in 1797 Mr. Bartsch found joy in numbering all the etchings of the great masters. It's easier to give someone a Bartsch number, in this case B21, than "Self-portrait of Rembrandt with one arm leaning on a stone sill".  Thanks for the info Pieter!

Flor del Amor cigar label

And then there is Flor del Amor, the famous Klingenberg label of Eros (Cupid) & Psyche, the mythical lovers.  I feel this is the quintessential example of "Art" on cigar labels.  It is also one of my most favorite images (maybe because I was born on Valentine's day and am partial to Cupid...not in an amorous way of course).  Flor del Amor is a ripoff of a famous sculpture by Antonio Canova (1757-1822) titled "Eros E Psyche".

Eros E Pische_sculptor

Canova was a master in marble and revived classical art in Italy.  In his time, he was considered the most dominating figure in European art.  This depiction of Eros reviving Psyche, who was put to sleep forever by inhaling a magic perfume, is as much an allusion to the legend of Psyche, as it is a hymn to love.  Canova started working on "Eros E Psyche" or "Pische" in 1787 and finished in 1793 when it was placed in Le Louvre, Paris.  His sculpture has been duplicated several times, not only by Canova himself but by other sculptors as well.  Canova's plaster version of "Eros" is on display at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

Amore cigar label

"Eros E Psyche" has been duplicated on other cigar labels as well, including Amore and Love's Kiss.  Canova created this masterpiece over 200 years ago and (if we don't blow ourselves up) will continue to be the 'hymn to love' for another 200 years.

Love's Kiss cigar label

I am sure there are more examples of cigar label images that mirror original paintings or sculptures.  If you have any information regarding this, please let me know (I am always up for a Part II).

We, who collect these wonderful little masterpieces of art in miniature, have always known that we have excellent taste in we can brag about it.  Ha!

Hope you enjoyed the info...until next time,

May You and Your Collection Prosper!

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