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Poster, Power, The Nerve Center of London's Underground

This is a Poster. It was designed by E. McKnight Kauffer and printed by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son and made for (as the client) Transport for London. It is dated 1930, printed 1931 and we acquired it in 1963. Its medium is lithograph. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

For 15 years, Kauffer had promoted the Underground as a way to reach a destination. But here, he celebrated the raw energy that powered the system. Kauffer fused man and machine, drawing on images he had seen in Soviet propaganda posters. Electric bolts emanate from a muscular arm and clenched fist, which punches through a spinning turbine that doubles as the Underground logo. Blue currents of energy are drawn from a simplified yet recognizable Battersea power station.

This object was featured in our Object of the Week series in a post titled The Power Underground.

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

  • Poster, Capital
  • screenprint on paper.
  • Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper Hewitt....
  • 2017-8-1

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 102.2 × 63.2 cm (40 1/4 × 24 7/8 in.)

It is signed

Printed in script, in black ink, lower right: EMcKnight Kauffer 1930.

It is inscribed

Printed in black ink, lower left: 17.1500. 1/31; lower right: VINCENT BROOKS, DAY & SON, LTD. LITH. LONDON. W.C.2.

Cite this object as

Poster, Power, The Nerve Center of London's Underground; Designed by Edward McKnight Kauffer (American, active England, 1890–1954); Printed by Vincent Brooks, Day & Son; Client: Transport for London; England; lithograph; H x W x D: 102.2 × 63.2 cm (40 1/4 × 24 7/8 in.); Gift of Mrs. E. McKnight Kauffer; 1963-39-45

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Underground Modernist: E. McKnight Kauffer.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Poster, Power, The Nerve Center of London's Underground |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=4 June 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>