I’ve never purchased art for the matting, until now. Set a quarter-inch deep with a massive white border, the matting makes this tiny picture seem so grand. Prints rarely even come this small (or warrant such a big frame) but if you look into the collectible world of early 20th-century cigarette trading cards, you’ll find more. Scenes of beautiful women, baseball players, cinema stars, and other popular imagery used to be printed on stiff pieces of paper and slipped into cigarette packs to keep the fags from bending and add a little Cracker-Jack surprise to the smoking experience.
Though I would have probably purchased this frame even if I didn’t adore the card inside, the 1940s subject matter was a definite selling point. A Japanese woman lounging nude in a living room, with jelly rolls proudly exposed, sitting on a side table admiring her red high heels—what’s not to love? Plus, the Marimekko-like blue floral carpet is pretty spectacular. The simple pen drawing is wonderfully graphic and the scene a bit mysterious.
I found this piece of art at this adorable boutique called Bucks County Dry Goods in Lambertsville, NJ but you can be sure to find antique cigarette trading cards on eBay, as well.