Roger Broders (1883-1953) was France’s champion of travel posters between the wars. From 1922 to 1932, he worked for the PLM railway, traveling around the country and advertising its many chic and sporty locations. He combined Impressionistic landscapes with sharp Art Deco typography and stylish characters who brought a strong dose of glamour to every scene. Marrying timeless natural beauty with Jazz Age fashion, Broders’ posters are hard to forget and easy to become infatuated with.
In one of Broders’ best posters for the Riviera, a swank Art Deco couple gazes down at the full tennis courts below. Meanwhile, the packed stadium seating provides ample views of the sporting activities and the Mediterranean beyond.
In collaboration with the Tunisian tourist bureau, the PLM railroad entices golfers to cross the Mediterranean and play at the then-French colony in North Africa.
Showcasing a set of sun-dappled villas, Broders promotes the Golden Horn, an area along the Côte d’Azur between Nice and Monaco, now readily accessible by way of the new coastal road.
The message here is that the Marseilles rail terminal is the departure point for other destinations along the Côte d’Azur—and by PLM limousine, if passengers so wish. The sleek simplification of forms and the way that the angled text works into the design, serving as the “road” up which the car and train travel out of the tunnel and to the sea ahead of them, makes for a powerful design.
While creating a posh, inviting atmosphere of luxurious Antibes, Broders’ figures also manage to echo the shape of the surrounding landscape in this masterful composition.
The rarest of all Broders posters, it’s also the only image Broders created for the Chemin de Fer du Nord—though the railroad is nowhere to be seen. Instead, he gives us the view from an elegant couple’s yacht pulling out of the harbor. The contrast between the modern (both people and ships) and the medieval (the spire of the Old Town Hall and the little skiff at right) makes Dunkirk all the more interesting and mysterious.