M999.70.7.1 | La Sonadora

La Sonadora
1904-1917, 20th century
Ink on paper - Lithography
15.2 x 20 cm
Gift of BCE Inc.
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Print (10661)
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Keys to History

The campaign to seduce consumers often relied on the appeal of the exotic and of feminine charms. This was especially noticeable in ads produced for tobacco and cigar companies, who seemed willing to spend a lot of money on advertising. These companies were among the first to promote band names in order to pique interest in their products and to differentiate them from the competition. The imagery on tobacco and cigar box labels often drew on Oriental or Spanish themes associated with tobacco. Images of female beauty and sexuality were also used to entice consumers.

  • What

    This lithography probably decorated a cigar box. As it says, La Soñadora is a trademark registered by cigar manufacturer J. M. Fortier.

  • Where

    The word "Habana" means that these cigars were made with Cuban tobacco, and were therefore of top quality.

  • When

    Lithography is a graphic process that grew in popularity after 1850. It is used to reproduce illustrations, in black and white or colour, from drawings made directly on the surface of a specially prepared stone.

  • Who

    J. M. Fortier, a Montreal cigar maker, was infamous for mistreating his employees. The situation was exposed in 1888, at hearings of the Royal Commission on the Relations of Labour and Capital.