Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954) Post during lunch hour, 1937 [-]
Size: Double Crown Reference: The Royal Mail Archive POST 110/2491 (PRD 0155)
Kauffer was born in Great Falls, Montana. He studied art at Mark Hopkins Art Institute, 1910 to 1912. At around this time, Professor Joseph McKnight of the University of Utah became aware of Kauffer and his work. McKnight chose to sponsor Kauffer and paid to send him to Paris for further study. In gratitude, Kauffer incorporated his sponsor's name.
He then studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. While there he witnessed the Armory Show, one of the first major exhibitions to introduce the styles of post-modernism and he went on to use many devices displayed there.
He travelled to Paris in 1913 and attended the Académie Moderne until 1914 when he moved to London: at first he was briefly associated with Robert Bevan's Cumberland Market Group.
Kauffer may be best known for the 140 posters that he produced for London Underground [Transport for London]. The posters span many styles: many show abstract influences, including futurism, cubism, and impressionism.
He created posters for other British clients, and also illustrated books and book covers. Later he also became interested in textiles, interior design and theatrical design.
He returned to America in 1940 where he was commissioned to do a series of posters for American Airlines in 1947. It remained his primary client until his death in 1954.
For images of his Transport for London posters see http://www.ltmcollection.org/posters/index.html
Photo right: copyright © American Institute of Graphic Arts
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The exhibition runs from 7th October - 4th November 2009 in the Well Gallery, London College of Communication, Elephant and Castle.
October 2009: Designs on Delivery: GPO Posters from 1930 to 1960 : Post Early
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