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Helbing, Ferenc

1870 - 1958

Ferenc Helbing (source: kiesebach.hu)
Ferenc Helbing (source: kiesebach.hu)

Ferenc Helbing was an important personality of early Hungarian poster art. He was a graphic artist, lithographer and art teacher, active between the 1900’s and the 1940’s.

After finishing art schools he got a job as leader of a lithography workshop.

Later he turned to graphic design, and made several great, classicist and historicist posters. He used plastic, classical figures and golden or painted backgrounds. His compositions are very traditional but well organized and harmonic. His most famous designs were made for the Mercur Bank, the Adria Paper Company, and the Divat Szalon fashion magazine.

He was also a painter and illustrator. His compositions are dreamlike, symbolic Art Noveau compositions, his style is similar to the great Austrian masters of the Sezession movement. Some works of him are highly erotic, showing the demonic ideal woman figure, a typical motive of the turn of the century art. His graphic works, illustrations, etchings, ex librises, etc. often use rich ornaments and floral motives.

He started his teaching career in 1906. Between 1927 and 1936 he was the head of the Iparművészeti Iskola (School of Applied Arts), where he had great influence on generations of young Hungarian artists. 

He was one of the great masters of early Hungarian Art Nouveau poster art.                                                                                                                                           .