Arts: For the Masses

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Commerce and art can be successfully mixed it seems—in London. The Underground Railways Co., which runs London's great tube system, has made its poster advertising unique in the world for the high quality of its designs by foremost artists. It is all due to Mr. Frank Pick, enlightened business manager. He gave Frank Brangwyn, the great etcher, a chance to exhibit his powerful lithographic epics to millions. He placed before the public G. Spencer Pryce's impressive studies of the life of the poor and the working classes. But he used with equal tolerance the irrepressible creations of Tony Sarg, MacDonald Gill, E. A. Cox, humorists; and the beautiful nature studies of Fred Taylor, F. Gregory Brown, E. Mc-Knight Kauffer, inviting the weary cityman to rural shires. Some of these men, now recognized as the foremost poster artists in England, got their first big chance on the Underground. The Underground literally set the nation's standards of poster publicity during the War, refusing to display the Government's first crude and inartistic recruiting posters. The Company sent as a free gift to the boys in the trenches one Christmas, a series of posters of home life by great artists, including the Land of Nod by Charles Sims, R. A. The stations of the Underground display a guide to the current exhibits in the London Art galleries, changed monthly. The Underground considers its high artistic standard good business policy as well as public service. The subjects are always good advertising, but they must also qualify as works of art, and many artists can testify that it is as hard to get a poster into the Underground as a canvas into the Royal Academy.