Ferenc Helbing was professor of graphics at the Applied Art High School of Budapest and was famous because he worked for the Polygraph where he designed several pengo and krone banknotes.

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The main theme of some Helbing’s, and in particular in some illustration, is the idea of the woman and of the female. The woman of Helbing is characterized by the concept of sin No more virginal, no more holy mother, the woman here is charged by the natural and mysterious forces of the pleasure and perverted instinct. Very close the the Von Stuck painting of Salome (1906)

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was the Helbing’s own interpretation of a very similar subject (a dancing oriental girl) in the illustrations Oriental marches (1911).

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The reference was evident, not only for the attitude similarities between the two works, but also for the luscious description of the entire scene. .Evident are also the influences by the work of another very important illustrator of the dance of Salome, Aubrey Beardsley, even for the black and white technique and the japanese drawing influences.

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Other very interesting work is the Dream (Alom) dated 1902.

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Here the dreaming expression of this femme fatale is charged with both luscious, mystic and irrational elements. The closed eye female expression denotes influences by another very important artist of the european symbolism at the turn of the century, the belgian Ferdnand Khnopff.

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The illustration of the book of the french mystic Josephin Peladan, entitled Ishtar (1888) and the drawing entitled un ange (an angel) (1889) which was exhibited also in Budapest in 1909, influenced both the Helbing’s Dream.

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Very very close to this beautiful drawing by Helbing was also one of the bronze surmounting the Music Academy of the hungarian capital city.But,in this case, the Helbing work was the influencing, since the Academy of Music was designed in 1902 and built only between 1904 and 1906 …

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