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Poster, American Airlines to New York

This is a Poster. It was designed by E. McKnight Kauffer and made for (as the client) American Airlines. It is dated 1948 and we acquired it in 1963. Its medium is lithograph. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

American-born E. McKnight Kauffer traveled to England in the mid-1910s, where he settled and became a successful commercial artist. His work elevated poster design to that of a fine art, using sophisticated styles and techniques in celebrated designs for a range of clients, including London Transport. In 1940, at the outbreak of World War II, he moved to New York, where he found work designing for corporate clients and war relief agencies. Between 1946 and 1953, he produced over thirty posters for American Airlines, most of which are represented in the Cooper Hewitt collection. Travel posters should convey "the character of places, the manners and differences of people, architectural interests and amusements," Kauffer wrote. He often focused on the places and their people, rather than the travel itself, as shown in this poster. The street view of a soaring New York skyscraper with its geometric lines and minimal color palette is typical of Kauffer’s work of this period.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled Getting There is Half the Fun.

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

  • Textile, Big City
  • cotton.
  • Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund.
  • 2007-5-2

Our curators have highlighted 14 objects that are related to this one. Here are three of them, selected at random:

  • Poster, All Europe
  • offset lithograph on paper, lined.
  • Gift of Mrs. E. McKnight Kauffer.
  • 1963-39-143

Its dimensions are

101.6 × 76.2 cm (40 × 30 in.)

It is signed

Printed in script in blue ink, lower right: E. McKnight Kauffer,

It is inscribed

Printed in black ink, lower left: LITHOGRAPHED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Cite this object as

Poster, American Airlines to New York; Designed by Edward McKnight Kauffer (American, active England, 1890–1954); Client: American Airlines (United States); USA; lithograph; 101.6 × 76.2 cm (40 × 30 in.); Gift of Mrs. E. McKnight Kauffer; 1963-39-139

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibitions Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer and Making Design.

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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= |title=Poster, American Airlines to New York |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=1 April 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>