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Object Timeline

-0001

1937

  • Work on this object began.

1963

  • We acquired this object.

2013

2016

2019

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Poster, The Elements of Modern Architecture, 1937

This is a Poster. It was designed by Edward McKnight Kauffer and made for (as the client) MARS Group. It is dated 1937 and we acquired it in 1963. Its medium is lithograph on tan wove paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

This poster publicized an important exhibition by the MARS (Modern Architectural Research) Group (1933–57) that promoted modern architecture in Britain as a solution to social needs. The exhibition was intended to allow the public to view modern architecture and understand its role in contemporary life. It is no surprise that the group commissioned E. McKnight Kauffer, then London's top modern graphic artist, to design the exhibition poster, shown here, and catalog cover. Kauffer had helped revolutionize poster design in Britain, applying fine-art sensibilities and styles, such as Cubism and abstraction, to the commercial arts. He believed art and commerce, though distinct, could exist harmoniously. Kauffer closely analyzed how people viewed posters, recognizing the importance of color and determining that geometric design attracted attention. The simplified form and colors of this poster were in line with British modernist styles at the time. The exhibition, open for less than three weeks, attracted 7,000 visitors, gaining attention and support for modern architecture in Britain.

This object was donated by Mrs. Edward McKnight Kauffer and catalogued by Kristina Parsons. It is credited Gift of Mrs. E. McKnight Kauffer.

Its dimensions are

76.2 × 50.6 cm (30 × 19 15/16 in.)

It has the following markings

Stamped in red ink, upper left: MADE IN ENGLAND

It is signed

Printed in script, in tan ink, lower center right: E. McKnight Kauffer '37

Cite this object as

Poster, The Elements of Modern Architecture, 1937; Designed by Edward McKnight Kauffer (American, active England, 1890–1954); USA; lithograph on tan wove paper; 76.2 × 50.6 cm (30 × 19 15/16 in.); Gift of Mrs. E. McKnight Kauffer; 1963-39-97

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18449259/ |title=Poster, The Elements of Modern Architecture, 1937 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=21 April 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>