Rare Early Air France Map
Decorative Air France Map Poster by Lucien Bouche.
Presents a lively pictorial map of the World, with Air France routes extending to Buenos Aires and Santiago, New York, Cairo, Beyruth (Beirut), Calcutta, Saigon, and Hong Kong.
This is one of the earlier Air France maps made by Boucher, his first being in 1934. Shows the beginning routes of the airline, extending west to the Americas and east to China.
Lucien Boucher (1889-1971) was a French artist whose work spanned various mediums including cartooning, painting, and illustration. Born in Chartres and educated at the École de Céramique de Sèvres, Boucher initially focused on ceramics before World War I significantly altered his artistic trajectory. His period of captivity as a prisoner of war during the conflict led him to discover and hone his skills in drawing, thereby shaping his future career.
Before the war, Boucher had already begun to make a name for himself in the French art scene, particularly through his cartoons published in the weekly magazine "Le Rire." His early works demonstrated his capability for visual satire, but his subsequent experience in the war led to a more serious engagement with themes and subjects. After his return, Boucher navigated toward commercial illustration and poster design, successfully integrating his artistic sensibilities with the needs of the market.
Starting in the 1920s, Boucher began to produce a series of posters that drew inspiration from the surrealism movement. This work culminated in his most well-known project: a series of planispheric and celestial maps designed for Air France. These maps served a dual purpose. While they were essentially utilitarian, providing navigational information, they were also aesthetically innovative. Boucher employed elements of surrealism to add layers of meaning, transforming what could have been straightforward maps into more complex visual narratives.
Boucher's work with Air France solidified his reputation as an artist who could balance commercial needs with artistic innovation. His approach to map-making was characterized by a careful attention to detail, a strong sense of composition, and a willingness to explore the boundaries of the medium. While his maps were intended to serve a practical function, they also succeeded in capturing the public's imagination, offering a vision of travel that was aspirational yet grounded in geographical realities.