WITH A PAINTER’S HEART and a designer’s mind E. McKnight Kauffer did more than any other person for graphic design in this country.
For this, commerce and industry, the design profession and the public at large will always be in his debt. Kauffer died in the USA last year (1954) where he had lived since 1941.
Although an American by birth, the bulk of his work between the two wars was carried out in this country where he profoundly influenced graphic design. He was fascinated by paintings and by the way new tendencies in the fine arts could be applied to poster design and advertising. His best-known work is for London Transport and Shell-Mex, but he also illustrated many books and designed ballet décors which are as alive today as they were when created 20 years ago (1940s).
He produced many designs for textiles and rugs which anticipate present day trends and show how he was able to apply his talent for graphic art equally successfully to other spheres of design. The exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum is sponsored by the Society of Industrial Artists with the support of the Royal Society of Arts and many former clients and friends.
F. H. K. HENRION
The scope of his work in other fields than that of the graphic arts is an inspiration to those who believe that designers need not be pigeon-holed into any particular medium.