This Art Nouveau poster of a beautiful and definitely interesting woman holding a cigarette is an advertisement for Mal-Kah “High Grade” Cigarettes. She is exotically dressed, wearing a jewel on her forehead and a gold necklace embedded with jewels, and she has flowers in her hair. The smoke from the very long cigarette held upright like a torch in her right hand is wafting about her face. She is obviously smoking this cigarette but is not shown doing so.
Her smile is similar to Mona Lisa's - ambiguous and left to the imagination - and her gaze is off into the distance. The dark blue and black backgrounds are in contrast to her glowing skin and the yellow lettering. Altogether she presents an intriguing image.
The tobacco company B. Kriegsfeld & Co was founded in the late 19th century and sold tobacco products in the UK. It changed its "German sounding" name just before WWI to "Mal-Kah" Tobacco and sold cigarettes until the early 1930s.
This poster is probably from the 1920s when cigarette advertisements began targeting women for the first time with the message that smoking was cosmopolitan and sophisticated. This Mal-Kah woman definitely fits with that targeted profile, and the choice of her attire, appearance and attitude was no accident.
This fascinating poster will add an interesting touch to all poster collections.