By: Lucien Boucher
Date: 1967 (published) Paris
Original Size: 23 x 37.5 inches (58.5 x 95.25 cm)
This is a fine print reproduction of the 1967 edition from Lucien Boucher’s Air France world map series. This example is identified by the blue / green coloring of the land within a navy blue ocean. The series was initially funded by the French government to promote its national airline, Air France, in the government’s attempts to rebuild the French economy in the years following the disastrous consequences of WWII.
The map centers on Europe and Northern Africa, delineating the “long haul lines,” and “lines of other companies in correspondence,” to Air France. Aside from the ample service throughout Europe and the eastern Mediterranean, one can’t help but notice the intricate network of connections throughout French West Africa. The projection is functional with respect to showing the air routes without line breaks, but falls short of a true world map by failing to include, Australia, New Zealand, the southern portion of South America, Antarctica, and much of the Pacific.
Throughout the work, illustrations depict regional representations of culture, history, architecture, and nature. In the oceans, aspects of earlier maps can be seen in mythical creatures, sea monsters, and sailing tall ships from centuries past. Finally, the map is surrounded by a most decorative border illustrating people, cultures, flora and fauna from far reaches of the world; an element of the map that clearly pays homage to earlier cartographic works of the 16th and 17th century.
Lucien Boucher (1889-1971) started his career as a cartoonist for satirical magazines before focusing on poster artwork for film and advertising. He is best known for the series of Air France posters that he made between 1934 and 1962.
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What can be referred to as modern cartography has been around for over 550 years. Throughout that time an enormous amount of new land was discovered, cities were founded while others perished. International trade and travel became the norm, political borders were ever-changing, and numerous wars were waged. With all that being said, hundreds of thousands of maps were created that show such events and episodes in time.
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