The lithographic arts flourished in the 19th and early 20th centuries — not only in fine art venues but also in commercial advertising, news article illustrating, and product packaging. Cigar boxes were often printed with elaborate Western scenes depicting cowboys and cowgirls in romantic settings, ranchers smoking by a campfire, and bandits replete with bandoliers.
Out of the Box: The Art of the Cigar — an exhibition drawn from the recent donation of historian Loy Glenn Westfall’s collection of historic cigar boxes — opens Friday, Oct. 14, at the New Mexico History Museum. Curated by Palace Press director Tom Leech, the show celebrates the golden age of the art of the cigar box. “Western imagery portrayed in this collection includes the brands Nue Mexico, Santa Fe, Flor Fina (Annie Oakley), Tom Mix, and Chas M. Russell,” Leech said. “The themes run from Western Americana to printing technology, advertising, popular culture, and Cuban-American relations, past and present.”
The exhibition also features a 19th-century lithography press and an explanation of the lithographic process. The museum is at 113 Lincoln Ave. Entrance to the show is by museum admission, which is free from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday evenings through October and on the first Friday of the month from November through April. Out of the Box: The Art of the Cigar is on view until Oct. 14, 2017.