posted July 14, 2006

Exhibition of Posters Will Open July 14

The gallery of the De Pree Art Center will feature an exhibition of a collection of posters by E. McKnight Kauffer beginning Friday, July 14.

The exhibition will open with a reception on Friday, July 14, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The public is invited to both the exhibition and the reception.  Admission is free.

The exhibition displays 17 advertising posters by Kauffer.  Taken from the college's Maurice Kawashima Collection, the works feature subjects ranging from American Airlines, to Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey, to a 1938 exhibition at Burlington Gardens, Wis.

William Mayer, professor of art and interim gallery director at Hope, describes E. McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954) as one of the 20th century's most influential graphic designers, noting that he is "an artist/designer whose contributions to popular visual culture are still quietly rippling through contemporary graphic design."

Raised in Evansville, Ind., Kauffer headed west as a teen-ager and while working at a bookstore met Joseph E. McKnight, a professor of education at the University of Utah.  McKnight was impressed with Kauffer's talent and eventually became his patron, sponsoring Kauffer to study art in Paris in 1913.  In homage to the encouragement and support he received from the professor, Kauffer took McKnight as his middle name.

In 1914, at the onset of World War I, Kauffer moved from Paris to England, and across the next 26 years took commissions including a series of landscape posters for the London Underground Railways; book covers for T.S. Elliot, William Faulkner and H.G. Wells; and costumes and sets for the Victoria and Albert Museum Theatre and the Royal Ballet.  The pressures of World War II prompted him in 1940 to return to the U.S., where he ultimately worked with clients such as American Airlines.                    

The De Pree Art Center is located on Columbia Avenue at 12th Street. The gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The gallery is handicapped accessible.

The exhibition will continue through Wednesday, Aug. 2. Additional information about the exhibition or gallery may be obtained by calling the De Pree Art Center at (616) 395-7500.