Posters on smoking

They are often only temporary in nature, the posters with announcements of exhibitions on pipes and tobacco or events on that theme. They hang somewhere for a few weeks and then they are cleaned up. Few care about preserving these posters. The Amsterdam Pipe Museum has collected these posters over the past fifty years. They are time-bound illustrations of events around smoking that were organized in a certain era, but now seem impossible.

The most active poster maker is probably the French Pipe and Diamond Museum in Saint-Claude. This specialized museum has been promoted annually with a placard for decades. All these years, one illustrator has been responsible for the playful drawing style in which both the pipe and the diamond play a part.

Only the Austrian Tobacco Museum, now defunct, wins artistically. Their posters stand out because of the beautiful Jugendstil designs of fashionable ladies with cigarette pipes. Both series are generic, they promote the museum, but not a specific exhibition.

In all other posters we can rarely speak of high-quality graphic design. Many exhibitions on clay pipes or archaeology lacked the budget for a colour print. Cutting and pasting with one or two photos, plus some shuffling with the text blocks is sufficient for a simple message. Most of the venues were small, being local museums where the exhibitions took place.

Characteristic of the twentieth century are the posters announcing a pipe smoking competition, often combined with an exchange fair. Typical memories of a bygone era.