Poster courtesy of Mucem.
“Marseilles has always had close ties with the rest of the Mediterranean basin, in particular the northern shore of Africa, a privileged position that has been widely glorified throughout its history. This relationship took a new turn after the conquest of Algeria, between 1830 and 1870, and the establishment of protectorates in Tunisia and Morocco, established respectively in 1881 and 1912. This poster praises Marseille’s privileged maritime link with North Africa, and the modernity of the transport, trains and steamships, which linked the Phocaean city to the Maghreb. Marseille became the first French colonial port and the first port of departure for colonists and travelers to North Africa: the poster speaks of 700,000 travelers to or from the Maghreb each year. In addition to the colonial aspect, the triumphant economic power of French industry and steam transport, in the service of speed and modernity, in Europe and North Africa, as shown by the different destinations offered from Marseille, is visible. More than as a door, it is as a lighthouse, which both guides and illuminates with its light, that Lucien Serre symbolizes the city in this poster.” —Mucem