Lester Beall (American, 19031969)
Silkscreen; H. 40 in. (101.6 cm), W. 30 in. (76.2 cm)
John C. Waddell Collection, Promised Gift of John C. Waddell
The electrification of America was a national priority during the Great Depression, with special emphasis on improving rural areas. Seen as an essential step in raising the standard of living for millions of Americans struggling with economic crisis, a number of government agencies set out to provide rural Americans with electrical power. Lester Beall's posters for the Rural Electrification Administration, a federal agency dedicated to serving rural communities, illustrated in bold, graphic terms the advantages of electricity. In this poster, radio waves, depicted as arrows, are sending information into the farmhouse. Other posters in this series extolled electric light, plumbing, and washing machines, all examples of the improved quality of life made possible through electricity. Beall's graphic designs, typically in bright, primary colors, rely on interrelated words and visual images for their impact.