Thursday, June 26, 2008

Where There's Smoke... There's Georgi

Cigarettes, cigars, pipes... in 1950's illustration they were common props. In Edwin Georgi illustrations their presence was almost mandatory!

Perhaps Georgi included them so often because he wanted to remind tobacco companies of his stunning series of cigarette ads for Phillip Morris (it never hurts to do a little subversive product placement if it helps land you a lucrative ad account).

...Or perhaps Georgi just liked the look of a smoking woman. Erm... you can take that last sentence either way. You get my meaning.

Whatever the case, cigars, cigarettes and undulating tendrils of smoke are as ever-present in Edwin Georgi's work as curvaceous hips...

and plump, red lips.

Think I'm exaggerating about Georgi's obsession with having his subjects smoke? In Illustrating for the Saturday Evening Post, author Ashley Halsey Jr. recounts one occassion when Georgi sent a sketch in for approval:

Associate Art Editor Frank Kilker phoned back and asked what the man in the center was holding in his hand. "A cigar," Georgi replied.

Kilker then asked what he had in his mouth. Georgi gulped and replied, "Another cigar!"

The extra cigar was promptly thrown away.

* The good folks at American Art Archives have devoted a page to Edwin Georgi's cigar and cigarette ads.

* My Edwin Georgi Flickr set.


  1. i remember seeing this illustrator around even in the early to mid 70s...not new work necessarily. it has such a nostalgic feeling, and i always try to capture his perfect noses in my own work.

  2. Captions for the Philip Morris ad:

    "Philip Morris! Oh Brad, I'm yours forever!"

    Brad: Somebody's getting lucky tonight!

  3. ...those were the times for smokers!
    Great illustrator! Beside his colours I particularly appreciate his stray patched light effects and how masterfully he handles them.