Monday, 9:34am
8 August 2011

Modern visions

Estorick exhibition to crown Edward McKnight Kauffer the ‘poster king’

While debate furiously rages as to whether the poster is still (or ever has been) the preserve of graphic designers (see ‘Olympic deliverance’, and associated comments), an exhibition with work from the form’s golden age will open next month at Estorick Collection. The work is by American-born artist / designer Edward McKnight Kauffer, and includes hazy Modernist visions of the seasons (and Watford), alongside abstract constructions for Shell and the Daily Herald.

Firmly in the spirt of poster design explored in Paul Rennie’s Modern British Posters (covered on the Eye blog and reviewed in Eye 77), Kauffer’s posters were his greatest achievement. The show opens on Wednesday 14 September.

Top: Summertime Pleasures by Underground, 1925.

Below: In Watford, 1915.

2. In Watford © TfL from the London Transport Museum

10. BP Ethyl Controls Horse Power

Above: BP Ethyl Controls Horse-power, 1933.

Below: Actors prefer Shell, 1935.

9. Actors prefer Shell

6. Artwork - Museum of Natural History © TfL from the London Transport Museum

Above: Museum of Natural History, 1923.

Below: Soaring to Success! Daily Herald – the Early Bird, 1919.

4. Soaring to Sucess. Daily Herald - the Early Bird

3. Exhibition of Modern Art, the London Group

Above: Exhibition of Modern Art: The London Group, 1919.

Below: How bravely Autumn paints upon the Sky, 1938.

11. How bravely Autumn paints upon the sky

Below: Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954), photograph by Maud B. Davis (ca.1920).

1. E. McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954)

14 September 2011 > 18 December 2011
The Poster King: Edward McKnight Kauffer
Estorick Collection
39a Canonbury Square
London N1 2AN

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop. For a taste of the current issue, see Eye before you buy on Issuu. Eye 80, Summer 2011, is out now.