The Platinum Egg 1986: Anders Beckman.

Freshly graduated from Konstfack (the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design, then called the School of Technology), Anders Beckman opened an advertising agency in 1930. The same year, during the Stockholm Exhibition, 23 year old Beckman was debating the foundations and ideals of poster art with giants such as Isaac Grünewald and Otto G. Carlsund. The young man enjoyed a dynamic 1930s to say the least, as another giant, Olle Eksell..., would remember in his memorial text to Beckman when he won the Platinum Egg five decades later (he died in 1967 and received the award posthumously): (a) In 1937, Beckman was one of the founders of SAFFT – the Association of Swedish Poster Artists – which later came to play a decisive role in the revolution that fundamentally changed and modernized Swedish advertising. (b) Beckman moved poster art forward, especially with his masterpieces for AB Aerotransport (visionary, seductive posters were de rigueur in an era when it took eight hours to fly to Paris from Stockholm). (c) Beckman promoted the fame and honour of Sweden around the world, and not just as a poster artist. Olle Eksell’s most enduring memory of Anders Beckman was of his ability to create a festive atmosphere wherever he went. Such as when he had a giant wooden Dalarna horse produced by the NK department store and shipped it to the Swedish Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. He was also one of the artistic directors of the world’s fairs in Brussels in 1935 and Paris in 1937. (d) In 1939, Beckman founded Beckmans School of Design with fashion oracle Göta Trägårdh. Both had long felt there was a need for newer, more creative Swedish design education than that provided by Konstfack. All the teachers at Beckmans were active practitioners, known in their respective fields, and students quickly came in contact with the reality of life at design firms and ad agencies. Within a few years, Anders Beckman was facing ever tougher competition for design commissions.