Travel Posters

Roger Broders’ first posters do not reflect the excep­tional tal­ent that could set him apart from his col­leagues. The posters of Avi­gnon (1922) or Salins-les-Bains (1923) are quite run of the mill and could well be attrib­uted to Alo or Constant-Duval con­tem­po­rary artists spe­cial­iz­ing in travel posters. La Chaine du Mont Blanc et I’Aiguille du Dru (1924) is very sim­i­lar, as far as col­ors go, to the poster designed at the same time by Roger Sou­bie for the Chemin de Fer de Cha­monix au Montenvers.

Roger Broders - Travel Posters

Roger Broders — Travel Posters

At this time a group of poster good land­scape artists, includ­ing Geo Dori­val, Julien Lacaze, Pierre Com­mar­mond and Paul Edouard Champ­seix, are all work­ing for Lucien Serre, an out­stand­ing printer. His print­ing house pub­lishes posters in a wealth of col­ors under the care of a mas­ter printer. At the begin­ning of the 1980’s, when the mag­a­zine “La Vie du Rail” asked the Bedos print­ing shop to issue a repro­duc­tion of a poster by Champ­seix of the via­duc de Gara­bit, the head lith­o­g­ra­pher an old hand at print­ing, was able to iden­tify a total of no less than eigh­teen color-runs on the orig­i­nal! This mul­ti­tude of color-runs allows the entire spec­trum of hues to be dis­played and Broders will put this to good use.. Very rapidly he devel­ops a sys­tem a sort of tool box which he uses at will, accord­ing to the task at hand. When deal­ing with a sin­gle land­scape espe­cially a moun­tain scene he con­structs his pic­ture in three grounds: The fore­ground, his view point, propped on the text, prac­ti­cally always appear­ing at the bot­tom of the poster rises above the mid­dle dis­tance, thus allow­ing for a depth of field. Travel PostersTrees are added to increase these effects of per­spec­tive a tech­nique he uses in a mas­terly fash­ion. The fore­ground is almost always done in dark hues, which serve to enhance and drawthe atten­tion of the viewer to the cen­ter, a val­ley, where­ac­cord­ing to the cri­te­ria of his com­mis­sion, he will draw a town or a vil­lage, in a lighter shade. Finally the back­ground, where the deci­pher­ing of the pic­ture ends, rep­re­sents the moun­tains, which draws upwards the gaze of the viewer. This sys­tem works per­fectly and can be adapted to any set­ting. Con­se­quently, when deal­ing with the French Riv­iera, Broders keeps on using these three per­spec­tives and depend­ing on the cho­sen view point, trees or cac­tus appear in the fore­ground, fol­lowed by a vil­lage, then the sea, or vice-versa. The inter­pre­ta­tion of the pic­ture, how­ever always remains iden­ti­cal. Only very few posters do not fol­low these rules. Only when the sub­ject dic­tates oth­er­wise, does Broders use a dif­fer­ent tech­nique. Le funic­u­laire Chamonix-Planpraz (1928) plays upon the diag­o­nals to mag­nify the incline and the dif­fer­ence in heights.

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Chamonix, La chaîne du Mont-Blanc - L'Aiguille du Dru PLM

Cha­monix, La chaîne du Mont-Blanc — L’Aiguille du Dru PLM

His most rec­og­nized cre­ations stage ele­gant cou­ples dressed in the lat­est fash­ion, drawn in a style that could have led him to pro­duce fash­ion art for mag­a­zines, such as “Vogue” or “La Gazette du Bon Ton” Always sit­u­ated in the fore­ground, either to the left or the right, the golfers at St. Hon­ore les Bains, the spec­ta­tors in evening dress at a night show in Vichy or the ten­nis play­ers in Monte Carlo, only slightly styl­ized, pro­mote the con­cept of the lux­ury in fash­ion at each of these resorts. The bathing ladies of Antibes, Calvi or Cote d’Azur, sim­i­larly posi­tioned, endorse as effec­tively the plea­sure of bask­ing in the sun or lying on the beach. If Travel PostersBroders’ com­po­si­tions do vary, in such a ratio­nally con­structed sys­tem, the sub­jects change and evolve with time. Even tak­ing into con­sid­er­a­tion his short period of pro­duc­tion the styles may eas­ily over­lap or be jux­ta­posed on the same poster, in accor­dance with the theme requested. One may think, for exam­ple, of Dunkerque (1929) where the styl­ized char­ac­ters are rep­re­sented in flat tints, whereas the more one moves into the pic­ture, the more real­ism devel­oped through dabs of color takes over Nonethe­less Broders’ approach from the start remains descrip­tive. He strongly uses col­ors side-by-side to con­vey the gen­eral atmos­phere, the light at the time of the day or of the sea­son he has cho­sen to evoke. The hatch­ing used to rep­re­sent the forests of fir trees or the reflec­tions of light on the lakes put him on a foot­ing iden­ti­cal with two undis­puted mas­ters of the Swiss poster Baun­berger and Car­dinaux. At any rate Broders mas­terly deals with light and shad­ows. Very rapidly circa 1928 his designs evolve into geo­met­ri­cal, styl­ized pat­terns. The mod­ele grad­u­ally dis­ap­pears to give way to flats of solid col­ors. This is Broders’s best period and he pro­duces pure mas­ter­pieces which appear at the Pan­theon of travel
posters. He is able to sim­plify, to styl­ize the sub­ject with­out let­ting it lose its charm or warmth a feat which Casan­dre a mas­ter in this field was never able to achieve.

SAINTE-MAXIME PLACE D'HIVED ET D'ETE

SAINTE-MAXIME
PLACE D’HIVED ET D’ETE

A first attempt, unpar­al­leled in his works, proves that the artist, in spite of his log­i­cal mind, was able to sur­prise (even star­tle him­self?) with an unheard of bold­ness in com­po­si­tion. Le Tour du Mont Blanc (1927) with its extrav­a­gant spi­ral and its almost naive draw­ing remains an out­sider. Mar­seille, Porte de I’Afrique du Nord, is a com­po­si­tion where air shafts, fun­nels and steamer hulls fill the pic­ture. Nonethe­less Broders is able to give life to the com­po­si­tion by adding warm hues and a few dabs of color which impact on the waters of a har­bor warmed up by the ochres and the sands of the city in the back­ground. Mar­seille, point de depart de la Cote d’Azur, an even more rad­i­cal poster thanks to t s mod­ernist c com­po­si­tion, vibrates thanks to details such as the yel­low rings of the sub­ject bask­ing in the sun (an often used process) and the sump­tu­ous flats of col­ors of the sea, the coast or the sun. Like Tom Purvis, his British alter ego, Broders goes as far as using a process close to the tech­nique of paper cutouts.

Sainte Maxime remains his mas­ter­piece in this cat­e­gory. The palm leaves, the sea, the beach, the sails, are noth­ing but non-underlined flats. Here again Broders is able to express, as by magic, the light of the Mediter­ranean light always light. Broders is able to express the cold purity of a moun­tain land­scape, as well as the ever-present bright­ness of the Riv­iera, of Rome, drown­ing in the sun, and even more so with the skies of Bagh­dad and of the sat­u­ra­tion of color which blurs the mon­u­ments. In an alto­gether dif­fer­ent area, Broders stands as one of the artists who suc­ceeded in con­vey­ing the plea­sure of Win­ter sports. It is another facet of his tal­ent as a pub­li­cist, where, this time he gives prece­dence to action vs. con­tem­pla­tion Whether it be ski­ing, hockey or bob-sleigh, each time Broders is able to skill­fully evoke and dis­play movement.

VILLARD.de.LAN5 LE PARADIS DES ENFANT5

VILLARD.de.LAN5
LE PARADIS DES ENFANT5

A rare occur­rence in this field, he gives pref­er­ence to group scenes, thus cre­at­ing happy and ani­mated posters. Wit­ness the gym­nas­tics of chil­dren a Vil­lard de Lans, the trek in a group towards the Teleski pour le Col de la Voza, fol­lowed by the descent in Saint descent in Saint Ger­vais. In the Saint Pierre de Char­treuse poster, the spec­ta­tors do a lot towards cre­at­ing is a real mas­ter of the travel poster who has always known how to rep­re­sent a place and cap­ture the quin­tes­sence of what the pub­lic sought. He is an artist, who by using sound con­struc­tion prin­ci­ples, a remark­able an ambiance. In the true mean­ing of the word, Broders typo­graph­i­cal know-how and a rich painter’s palette, has suc­ceeded, either through color or his angle of vision, in cre­at­ing land­scapes, which although often sim­i­lar, are never monot­o­nous. If often in the main­stream, he is unequalled, when in a state of grace. Within a ten-year period he was able to cre­ate a major work, and given his spe­cial­iza­tion pro­duce a con­sid­er­able num­ber of posters. Finally, and to con­clude, a mys­tery remains:

Why did he sud­denly stop cre­at­ing, never going back to poster art? A ques­tion which will cer­tainly always remain unanswered.

Alain Weill, Paris 2002

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