Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890 – 1954)

Summertime – Pleasures by Underground (1925)


Original vintage poster

101 x 63 cm

Signed and dated in plate. Issued by the Underground Electric Railways Co. of London, Ltd., 1925.

This is one of a series of posters designed by Edward McKnight Kauffer bearing the legend ‘Summertime – Pleasures by Underground’. A doleful Pierrot figure (a lovestruck clown character from commedia dell’arte) plays a lute before a castle with streaming pennants; a country caravan, daffodils, leafy trees and a bright yellow sun complete the scene. Other posters from the series include similar traditional folk characters, such as a Jack-in-the-green.

Edward McKnight Kauffer was an American artist and graphic designer who lived for much of his life in the United Kingdom. He is mainly known for his work in poster design, but was also active as a painter, book illustrator and theatre designer. He studied art at the California School of Design from 1910 to 1912 and then at the Académie Moderne in Paris until 1914 (via a six month stint at the Art Institute of Chicago). He moved to London upon the start of the First World War and produced 140 poster for London Underground and London Transport. He created posters for Shell Oil, the Great Western Railway and other commercial clients, and also illustrated books and book covers. Later he also became interested in textiles, interior design, and theatrical design.

He returned to New York City in 1940 and began designing posters for American Airlines (his primary client until his death) in 1947 .In 1952 he designed the book jacket for Ralph Ellison’s novel Invisible Man – arguably Kauffer’s most famous work.

Condition: generally very good; backed to linen.

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