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Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

1921

  • Work on this object began.

2021

Poster, Winter Sales Are Best Reached by Underground

This is a Poster. It was designed by E. McKnight Kauffer and published by Underground Electric Railways of London Company Ltd. and printed by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son.

This object is not part of the Cooper Hewitt's permanent collection. It was able to spend time at the museum on loan from Merrill Berman as part of Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer.

It is dated 1921. Its medium is lithograph. It is a part of the department.

The tagline—”Winter Sales Are Best Reached by Underground”—was a pitch to increase ridership by reminding savvy female shoppers to take the Underground in stormy weather. Kauffer’s women, bundled in overcoats or obscured by umbrellas, are largely androgynous. Drawing on both 19th-century Japanese prints and cubist abstractions, these silhouetted figures battle against slanting rain, wind, or snow.

“Pretty” Advertising

As early as 1921, Kauffer publicly expressed disdain for “pretty” advertising, the common practice of featuring attractive female figures to promote almost any product or service. His abstract and often androgynous approach to depicting women was strikingly distinct from most advertisements of the period. “From the purely technical point of view,” Kauffer wrote, “pretty” advertising “fails because, if one does not remember the story, one usually fails to remember what it advertised.”

It is credited Collection of Merrill C. Berman.

Its dimensions are

100.6 × 62.5 cm (39 5/8 × 24 5/8 in.)

There are restrictions for re-using this image. For more information, visit the Smithsonian’s Terms of Use page.

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