Art for All: British Posters for Transport

Overview

In 1908 London Underground began a comprehensive publicity program that became one of the most successful, adventurous, and best-sustained promotional operations ever attempted.  The posters commissioned not only encouraged travel on the capital’s burgeoning public transport system; they also helped to foster a civic identity for metropolitan London. The four national rail lines created in 1923, inspired by this example, created their own campaigns. This richly illustrated volume celebrates the ...

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Overview

In 1908 London Underground began a comprehensive publicity program that became one of the most successful, adventurous, and best-sustained promotional operations ever attempted.  The posters commissioned not only encouraged travel on the capital’s burgeoning public transport system; they also helped to foster a civic identity for metropolitan London. The four national rail lines created in 1923, inspired by this example, created their own campaigns. This richly illustrated volume celebrates the designs, highlighting works that are among the triumphs of 20th-century poster art.

Designed to accompany an exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art, Art for All features more than one hundred works executed for the Underground and the railways. The exhibition and catalogue will explore the evolution of transport posters in 20th-century Britain. It will feature the career of E. McKnight Kauffer, perhaps the greatest of these poster artists; the role of women designers; the printing techniques that brought the designs to life; and the strategies of display developed by the transport systems. Both a visual delight and a work of scholarship, Art for All pays tribute to these extraordinary exploits in public design.

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"These posters, with their vivid images augmented by bold lettering, resulted in art that was also good for business. . . . This attractive publication contains 145 outstanding, mostly color, illustrations."--W. S. Rodner, Choice

— W. S. Rodner

Choice - W. S. Rodner

"These posters, with their vivid images augmented by bold lettering, resulted in art that was also good for business. . . . This attractive publication contains 145 outstanding, mostly color, illustrations."--W. S. Rodner, Choice
Library Journal
The lure of travel has a long history; exotic locales, new cultures, and unfamiliar sights and sounds. In the early 20th century, the London Underground began to encourage the use of its freshly opened facilities by creating a new identity for the city, one that opened the way for similar activities on the part of the national railroads. Utilizing the graphic techniques of earlier decades, artists designed posters to delight the eye and stir the imagination by making a trip on the Underground seem innovative and attractive, easy to navigate, and always available. Edelstein curated this recent exhibition at the Yale Center for British Art, with an eye to the social and cultural aspects of poster design as well as its place in British art history. Well-written essays by Edelstein and others treat the various aspects of design technique, the major artists involved (many of whom were women), and the impact of these posters on the population. One flaw is the repetition of illustrations. VERDICT An appealing look at an important period in the graphic arts in Britain, this is useful for audiences interested in both 20th-century British art in general and this specific medium.—Paula Frosch, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300152975
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 7/20/2010
  • Pages: 280
  • Product dimensions: 9.80 (w) x 12.30 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


Teri J. Edelstein is a former research fellow at the Yale Center for British Art. She now lives in Chicago, where she has been deputy director of the Art Institute and more recently has served as an international art consultant.
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