American Airlines to New York by E. McKnight Kauffer

“American Airline to New York” by Edward McKnight Kauffer is lithograph poster done on white woven paper, as suggested in the name the piece was commissioned by the American Airlines company and was completed in 1948. After being unable to enlist in WWII alongside England as an American citizen, Kauffer saw no choice but to move back to America and soon found himself in New York City. However, he soon found out just how difficult the adjustment would be. Although he had earned his reputation in England, New York was much more fast paced and Kauffer struggled to keep up. He found himself struggling to keep up in the city’s design world. He was not a huge fan of the American abstract expressionism design style of the 1940s and his difference in stylistic choices left him intimidated by his competition. It wasn’t until he was offered to do a series of travel posters for American Airlines that Kauffer was able to get a grip and get back to what he knew. He was able to bring back his European Art Deco style, except this time his posters tended to give a much less heavy and brighter feel. The use of large white areas mixed with light blue in “American Airline to New York” gives an open feel that could be associated with being in an airplane, miles above the ground, floating through the sky. Kauffer continued to work for American Airlines until his death in 1950. Although the airline series gave him a chance to get back to what he loved, he remained unhappy in America which lead to his demise.