Edward McKnight Kauffer (1890-1954) was an American born artist who worked in the UK as a poster and graphic designer between 1914-40. One of the most prolific, influential and innovative poster artists working in Europe during the twenties and thirties, his work was avant garde and reflected postmodernist movements of the time. Kauffer is most famous for the 140 posters he produced for London Underground / London Transport, though he also illustrated books and book covers.
Kauffer's Metropolis related work includes a colour drawing - gouache of paper, 29 1/2 x 17 inches, dated 1926 - now located in the Museum of Modern Art, New York (see image above). It features rows of stooped workers and the weels of large marchines, with tall, blank skyscrapers in the background. A black and white print or reproduction of this work was published (refer below), unfortunately no information is at hand regardng the circumstances of its production. It is possible that this work was produced prior to the UK release of Metropolis in March 1927, as part of an unsuccessful tender for the local posters and related material.
Kauffer had a long standing interest in effects of technology on humankind and was aware of the Vorticists group who worshiped the machine as an icon.
Site last updated: 20 February 2011.