Tintin returns to the art market with a 1942 drawing at auction

Posted on Friday, January 13, 2023 at 04:50

Tintin, world star of comics and the art market. An original drawing by Hergé made in 1942 for the cover of “Tintin in America” ​​goes up for auction next month in Paris and could break a new record in this sector.

The drawing, which shows a tall Native American chief in traditional garb pointing an accusing finger at the tethered Tintin, brandishing an ax in the other hand, is world famous.

For 80 years, he has graced the cover of the third volume of the adventures of the young Belgian reporter with a puff (who is leaving for America after his trips to the Soviets and the Congo), one of the best-selling records in the series.

The original soon to be sold by Artcurial, which is on display until Saturday night at its Brussels facility, dates from 1942.

At that time, “Tintin in America” ​​was already ten years old but had only been published in black and white.

This Chinese ink drawing is the one chosen for the first color edition of the album, which came to light in 1946.

Sold by an unidentified Belgian collector, it is now estimated “between 2.2 and 3.2 million euros”, according to Artcurial, a French firm that claims the leading position in comic book auctions.

In January 2021, he had registered a world record with Hergé’s illustration project (Indian ink, gouache and watercolor) of the original cover of the “Lotus bleu”. The 1936 drawing was sold for 3.2 million euros including expenses.

In 2016, a board of ‘We walked on the moon’ was sold for 1.55 million euros.

– Elegant style –

“We are talking about drawings that belong to the history of art,” argues Vinciane de Traux, director of Artcurial for Benelux. “Hergé is with Magritte the most important figure in Belgian art.”

This time, the centerpiece of the sale scheduled for February 10 in Paris is “larger in size, more impressive in composition.”

It is also, according to this specialist, a perfect example of the refined style of Hergé, Georges Rémi of his real name (1907-1983); the “clear line” popularized by a handful of Belgian designers of the same generation.

The drawing has already been shown in exhibitions, in Paris in 2009 and in Lausanne (Switzerland) in 2010. It is “fully documented, authenticated”, continues the director of Artcurial.

Two years ago, the “Blue Lotus” auction infuriated Nick Rodwell, the British businessman who keeps a close eye on Hergé’s legacy. He is the second husband of Fanny Vlamynck, widow and universal legatee of the designer.

The famous drawing of the black dragon on a red background was sold by members of the Casterman family, who claimed that his father Jean-Paul had received it as a “gift” from Hergé himself during a family meal in the 1930s.

The future director of the eponymous publishing house was then 7 years old. He would have kept the sheet of paper folded in six in a drawer for decades.

A version disputed by Mr. Rodwell, who had criticized the Castermans for failing to return the drawing.

But relations eventually calmed down. Ultimately, says Ms de Traux, “Hergé’s estates were pleased with the outcome of the sale. Everyone is happy that the market is supporting Tintin’s rating.”

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