J and W Beggarstaff, poster artists

Catalogue Raisonné

“KASSAMA” | CORN | FLOUR

8 [Poster for a fictitious product, London, 1894]

Four-color lithograph: yellow, red, tan and black. London, J. Henderson, printer, published 1894. Signed lower left: J W Beggarstaff. 39 1/4" w. x 59 1/8" h. (99,5cm w. x 150cm h.)

As with all the Beggarstaff's posters, this masterpiece of graphic design, poignantly points out that, less is more. Using a striking combination of colour and silhouette design in perfect harmony, we have an unforgettable image that is remembered forever as "Kassama."

"The girl in the Kassama Corn Flour poster offers a strong contrast to the winsome, smiling maidens (such as Cheret's) encountered in other advertisements for household goods from this period. Depersonalized and distant, she imparts no information and communicates no advice. The girl is drawn in such a way as to allow hair and basket to print the same colour as the background... to make the girl more eye catching; they placed her against a bright yellow background. By surrounding the figure with a wide expanse of unrelieved yellow, they ensured that it would be isolated from adjacent advertisements."

Ref: Malhotra 234, Campbell A1.

Original in collection of MoMA, New York, NY. Emilio Ambasz Fund and Department Purchase Fund (154.1988).

Copyright © 2008-2017 by Martin S. Lindsay. All rights reserved.
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