page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76

Left:Kaufferreturned to amore 'painterly'style in 1938with Howbravely Autumnpaints upon the skyRight:Theartist's iconicposters hadgreat influenceon commercialimagery in the early 20th centuryThe Poster KingThis autumn, the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art ishosting a major exhibition exploring the work of one of thekey figures of British Modernism with The Poster King:Edward McKnight KaufferESTORICK COLLECTIONAremarkably versatile artist, EdwardMcKnight Kauffer (1890-1954)drew on a wide variety of styles increating his works, from Japanese art toFauvism, Constructivism and Surrealism,and his oeuvre encompassed painting,applied art, interior design andscenography. Yet it is his celebratedposters created for clients such asLondon Underground and Shell duringthe inter-war years for which he remainsmost famous. Kauffer produced some ofthe most iconic commercial imagery ofthe early 20th century - not only inBritain, but internationally. The exhibition will provide an overviewof the artist's career, focusing particularlyon his time in England (1914-40), wherehe created his most famous works. Itwill also incorporate lesser-known earlypieces reflecting the aesthetics ofVorticism, Cubism and ItalianFuturism - Kauffer sharing the lattermovement's concern with bringingart into everyday life and engaging amass audience. Born in Montana in 1890, EdwardKauffer revealed a precocious talentfor drawing that perhaps provided asense of escape from the austerity ofhis early life. Placed in an orphanagefor two years from the age of threeafter the divorce of his parents, theyoung Kauffer undertook menial jobsin order to supplement the family'smeagre income after his motherremarried in 1899. His stepfatherencouraged his artistic ability, and bythe age of 17 Kauffer had establishedhimself as a painter. In 1907 he wasemployed by a travelling repertorytheatre, before taking a position at aSan Francisco bookshop in 1910. Aregular customer at the shop was Prof.Joseph E McKnight of the University ofUtah, who recognised the young man'stalent and, in 1912, offered to fund hisstudies in Paris. The depth of Kauffer'sgratitude to McKnight was revealed bythe incorporation of his benefactor'ssurname into his own. The outbreak of the First World Warforced Kauffer to move to England,where he remained for over two56NADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN 2011www.nadfas.org.ukImages: Courtesy of The Shell Art Collection; London Transport Museum; V&A Museum; BP Archive; Private collection

decades. Struggling to find work, heachieved a major breakthrough in 1915when he was taken on by LondonUnderground. As the Vorticist painterWyndham Lewis stated: "The tunnels ofthe 'Tube' became thenceforth hissubterranean picture galleries." It wasalso Lewis who coined the phrase 'ThePoster King' to describe Kauffer. At thistime Kauffer's influences were Van Goghand Fauvism, as revealed in two earlyposters promoting visits to Oxhey Woodsand Watford, in which trees with blue orblack foliage fringed with gold castshadows across sulphur-yellow paths. Contact with the Vorticist group led toa significant stylistic shift in Kauffer'swork, whereby the painterly, figurativelanguage of his early imagery wasincreasingly invaded by the hard-edgedvocabulary favoured by the movement.This can be seen in motifs such as thatof Flight - Kauffer's most famous image,and subsequently adopted for the DailyHerald newspaper - as well as a workpromoting Vigil Silk. During the 1930s Kauffer's main patronwas Shell-Mex - the combined publicityarm of both Shell and BP - and theexhibition includes images from this series.Often drawing on Surrealist influencesand iconography, the works of theseyears also saw Kaufferreturn to a more'painterly' style, as in his 1938 poster forLondon Undergroundentitled Howbravely Autumn paints upon the sky. Although Kauffer was by now animportant part of the British artisticestablishment, joining the Victoria andAlbert Museum's Advisory Council in1935, he found work increasingly difficultto come by as the nation slid towardswar, and in 1940 he returned to Americawith his second wife, Marion Dorn.There, he worked for clients such as the publisher Random House andAmerican Airlines. A fresh, breezy imageof sailing boats dating from 1950,advertising flights to Chicago, is typicalof Kauffer's late work. However, his finalyears were marked by personal sadnessand a sense of disorientation that arosefrom feelings of being torn between hisstatus as an American citizen and hislove for England. Kauffer died in NewYork in 1954. The Poster King: Edward McKnightKauffer; Estorick Collection ofModern Italian Art; 14 September -18 December 2011; Tel: 020 7704 9522,www.estorickcollection.com ESTORICK COLLECTIONNADFAS REVIEW / AUTUMN 201157