Jacques Nathan-Garamond (French, b. 1910). Elle les Éclipse Toutes, Mazda Platina. c. 1938. Lithograph. 45⅝ × 63″ (115.8 × 160 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the Designer, 1968 he Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of the Designer, 1968

Electricity—a source of clean, efficient power and brilliant, reliable light—epitomized the very spirit of modernism in the early 20th century. After decades of research and competitive experimentation following the development of the first arc lamps and incandescent filament bulbs in the mid-19th century, electricity began to transform every aspect of modern life. Electric light—first in city streets and then in homes—brought a revolutionary innovation to daily existence, literally redefining day and night. This installation features a dozen posters from MoMA’s collection used in this period to promote electricity, which offered staggering possibilities for progress but was not universally welcomed. In creating graphics for industry leaders like AEG and Bosch, modern designers were inspired by the beauty of the bulb itself and the splendor of electric light, which are both rendered with exquisite power in Jacques Nathan-Garamond’s poster of c. 1938, which pulsates in 2-D. The installation highlights a selection of Lester Beall’s equally vibrant posters for the Rural Electrification Administration, which used bold, patriotic graphics to foster public awareness of the benefits of electricity in America’s homes and farms during the Great Depression.

Organized by Juliet Kinchin, Curator, and Aidan O’Connor, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.

Architecture and Design Collection Exhibitions are made possible by Hyundai Card Company.

If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA's collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

If you would like to license audio or video footage produced by MoMA, please contact Scala Archives (all geographic locations) at firenze@scalarchives.com.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication or moma.org, please email text_permissions@moma.org. If you would like to publish text from MoMA's archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to archives@moma.org.

This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to digital@moma.org.