The JTI Collection Vienna of the company JTI Austria Ltd. (formerly Austria Tabak) dates back all the way to the Vienna World Fair of 1873 and comprises around 10,000 tobacco-historical objects and images, making it one of the most comprehensive of its kind in Europe.
In 1928 the Austrian tobacco company made advertising history when it invited renowned artists to help redesign its cigarette packs. The list of participating artists reads like a “Who’s Who” of the art scene at the time. Members of the Secession and the Hagenbund, such as Josef Dobrowsky, Anton Faistauer, Oskar Laske, Carry Hauser, Franz von Zülow, Ludwig Heinrich Jungnickl, Albert Paris Güthersloh and Alfred Gerstenbrand, created designs as did artists of the Wiener Werkstätte and the Werkbund, including Gabi Lagus Möschl, Mathilde Flögl, Maria Strauss-Likarz and Oswald Haerdtl. It was not only the design of the packets but also the introduction of new brands that was to signal an opening towards Modernism. The brand Jam as well as another brand named after a contemporary jazz opera by Ernst Krenek are a testament to the enthusiasm for all things American at the time. The Asta variety was the first cigarette with a red silk tip designed especially for sophisticated ladies. The results of this competition to estheticize an everyday product not only reflect that era’s zeitgeist but also enter into an exciting dialogue with art of the interwar period from the collection of the Leopold Museum.