Saturday, April 27, 2013

X is for the Unknown -- the African Continent

Artist Unknown.  c. 1936.  Dover Press.
"Fly Air Africa and Visit Africa by Plane."  Artistically, this is one of my favorite posters.  What would Africa have been like in 1936?

Unfortunately, the artist is unknown, but his use of light and shadow and the point of view from passenger to the ground is unusual.

France had many colonies in Africa in 1936 and if you look at the brochure in the man's hand, it shows the air route.  Can you name the six colonies that are part of the air route? The first one is Algeria. They are the black dots on the map. It does not include Morocco or Madagascar. Clicking on the poster makes it larger. 

The gentleman has two bars over his jacket and the lion or Griffin could be the insignia of the airline or something else.  Any ideas?  

I appreciate your comments, they do not have to be about the poster.


  1. I cant name any of the colonies but I can see I have a lot to discover on this blog

  2. Hi Ida: What I learned presenting these posters is how much I don't know.

  3. I agree, this is an eXceptional poster for it's stylized lithographic rendering. The Winged Lion Logo appears on a number of Air Afrique posters, but is not the Air Lines Logo that appears on the tail of their Planes. My guess is that it is a Dover Press logo...especially since the poster is unsigned by a specific artist. It is not uncommon for publishers to have in house graphic artists for Ad Campaigns.

    Nice to meet you through AtoZ Challenge. I enjoyed visiting your blog.

    My Letter'X'...TeXas Our TeXas Quilt
    Sue CollectInTeXasGal
    AtoZ LoneStar Quilting Bee

    1. Thanks, Sue. France did have a winged beast symbol but I could not find it. But your idea makes the most sense.

  4. An interesting poster, only a few more words to go. It has been great reading your posts. Amanda

  5. Thanks, Amanda. I have enjoyed your art! Hope we can continue the "chat."

  6. That is a pretty cool poster, though after poking about a little bit I think my favourite is the one you posted for W :)

  7. Thanks, Rhonda. Some people liked the V one, it is so art-deco.

  8. Although I am not much on the art, it is a cool poster. I have been to a few places in Africa, Senegal, Burkino Faso, and Guinea all speak French.

    Almost done with the challenge.

  9. Tronster, it has been a challenge. They do speak French so do the other former French colonies, I think. When you look at history and see where all the French colonies were including Vietnam; the breadth of their colonization gives one much to think about. Good in the long run or not?

  10. I couldn't name any of the colonies but I do like the poster. You don't really get adverts these days that look as nice, do you?

  11. Yes, interesting poster. Would have never known to look at it in that way. I may never look at a poster in the same old way again after reading this. :)
    Great article.

    Silvia @ Silvia Writes

  12. Thanks Nick and Silvia. The Golden Age of Travel Posters was from 1919-1959. The world has changed so much since then. Collecting a few would be a pleasure.

  13. Hi LoW .. I've no idea re the colonies .. but they'd be French ones .. Chad, Niger, Mali, Mauritania ... it's interesting to think of the changes that have occurred and I love the idea of checking out the route across Africa.

    Fascinating .. cheers Hilary