This object is currently on display in room 302 as part of Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer. See our image rights statement.

 

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Object Timeline

  • We acquired this object.

1926

  • Work on this object began.

2021

2022

  • You found it!

Poster, Bananas

This is a Poster. It was designed by E. McKnight Kauffer.

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

It is dated 1926. Its medium is lithograph. It is a part of the department.

Kauffer was one of the first modernist artists commissioned by the EMB. For one of a set of five posters promoting Caribbean exports, Kauffer frames a scene of three Black men harvesting bananas in a lush, geometric jungle. Through a unified visual expression, Kauffer renders the people, the land, and the bananas as commodities for consumption. Black bodies are depicted without individualized features or signs of their oppression.

Empire Marketing Board

The Empire Marketing Board (EMB) was founded to increase sales of goods from colonies of the vast British Empire. From 1926 to 1933, the EMB’s publicity department commissioned artists to design posters to promote imperial trade. This advertising perpetuated racist stereotypes and unequal racial hierarchies. Indigenous people were illustrated performing manual labor, while white figures were shown as supervisors or at leisure. The posters, in large, custom-designed wooden frames, were prominently displayed in urban settings. They were also used as visual teaching aids in 27,000 schools throughout Great Britain.

It is credited The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred H. Barr, Jr., 1968.

Its dimensions are

H x W (approx.): 101.6 × 152.4 cm (40 × 60 in.)

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

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

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-4.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/2318805166/ |title=Poster, Bananas |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=19 January 2022 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>