Edward McKnight Kauffer was born in Montana, the United States, and studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco. With the assistance of Professor McKnight he went to study in Paris and adopted McKnight as a middle name in recognition of this. In 1914 he went to London, returning to the United States in 1940.
Soaring to success is based on a drawing that McKnight Kauffer had done in 1913 and is one of his most famous designs. It seemed to herald the dawning of a new age. The poster design itself went through a number of variations and has since become one of the quintessential images associated with British modernism. Through the auspices of John Hassall – see Skegness is SO bracing – McKnight Kauffer was introduced to Frank Pick of the Underground Group of companies and he went on to produce many of the British Underground’s most memorable poster images.
Text © National Gallery of Australia, Canberra