Museum Folkwang presents: Faraway countries, faraway times.

A visual-literary journey through the world of travel posters with author Felicitas Hoppe

From 15 March to 7 July 2024, Museum Folkwang is showing the exhibition Faraway countries, faraway times. Posters as a place of longing with around 240 historical and contemporary travel posters. A large number of photochromes and postcards as well as a replica of an imperial panorama complement the presentation and give visitors an insight into destinations near and far. The writer Felicitas Hoppe has written literary miniatures exclusively for Museum Folkwang.

The early days of individual travel around 1830 are the starting point of the exhibition. Travelling remained a luxury until the 1950s. At that time, most people's wanderlust was satisfied with the help of pictures and travelogues. Travel posters, which advertised distant destinations in large format and bright colours, became projection screens for people's own longings - "journeys in the mind". The author Felicitas Hoppe writes: "Nowhere else can time and space be transcended as casually and effortlessly as in literature: it has been the undisputed expert on the freedom to travel in dreams and in the mind since time immemorial and remains the best travelling companion for the magnificently illustrated surfaces of longing in art and advertising to this day."

With around 240 posters, the exhibition provides a comprehensive overview of the development of travel posters. From Alfons Mucha's Art Nouveau posters from around 1897 and Lucian Bernhard's designs for the Sachplakat to Georges Mathieu's work for Air France from 1967: travel posters have always been subject to fashions and social trends.

The introductory chapters deal with the period around 1900 and mostly show very picturesque designs of the time. Chapters I to V focus on travel destinations in Europe and North Africa, with the variety of popular destinations grouped by season. In addition to posters, around 130 historical photochromes, colour lithographs, over 90 postcards and ten fans are presented. The reproduction of the so-called Imperial Panorama (Chapter V), consisting of hand-coloured slides, provides an unusual close-up view into the distance thanks to the stereo effect. Chapters VI and VII are dedicated to the travel destinations of the 1920s and 1930s. Speed and engine power became important poster themes. Until then, the style of travel posters was predominantly conservative; it was only through the technical aspect that the connection to contemporary poster design was made. 

New Objectivity and Art Deco now also characterised European travel posters. Chapter IX is dedicated to travelling in times of climate change. Students from the Akademie Mode & Design (AMD) in Düsseldorf visualise their ideas of travel in times of climate change and sustainability efforts. New perspectives on travelling in the context of the global environmental crisis are presented and discussed. The emergence of air travel in the 1950s and 1960s and its impact on travel culture is examined in Chapter X. Finally, in Chapter XI, contemporary designs for NASA illustrate space tourism and the idea of unreachable places.

Supported by Sparkasse Essen.

Posters as a place of longing
With stories by Felicitas Hoppe
15 March – 7 July 2024 

8 € (standard) / 5 € (discounted)

The catalogue is published by Edition Folkwang / Steidl. ISBN: 978-3-96999-349-1, price: 38 €.
Felicitas Hoppe's Literary Head Journeys for the exhibition Faraway countries, faraway times. Posters as a place of longing are available in the accompanying room book, the app and the catalogue.


Roger Broders (1883–1953)
France, around 1927
Imp. Lucien Serre, Paris
Colour lithography
106,5 x 76,7 cm
Photo: Museum Folkwang

Ferne Länder, Ferne Zeiten