On the occasion of its Comic Book sale on January 14, Artcurial is unveiling an exceptional and unprecedented piece on the art market: the drawing made by Georges Rémi dit Hergé for the initial cover of the album Le Lotus bleu de 1936. Too expensive to reproduce at the time because of the colorization technique used, four-color printing, this cover was refused in 1936 by the publisher Casterman. This drawing, never seen on the art market, was offered by Hergé in person to the young son of the publisher Louis Casterman who kept it in a drawer.
This cover project for the Blue Lotus, Tintin’s fifth adventure, an album that marked a turning point in Hergé’s career, is undoubtedly one of the covers most evocative of the adventures of the little reporter. Following his meeting with his new friend Tchang Tchong-Jen, the only real character with Al Capone to be integrated into Tintin’s adventures, his line, and his style change and assert themselves.
This drawing made in India ink, watercolor, and gouache on paper is estimated at 2,200,000 – 2,800,000 €. It will be offered for auction on January 14 at Artcurial in Paris.
A leader in the specialty, Artcurial holds 8 of the 10 highest bids for a work by Hergé, including the world record for a comic book drawing for all authors, won on May 24, 2014, for the first cover pages of Tintin albums (2 6 M € the auction of this rare piece of blue Lotus creates event again to the delight of fans of the 9 th art.
“This drawing is a true masterpiece which represents all the genius of Hergé, probably the most beautiful album cover of Tintin! » Eric Leroy, Comic Strip Expert, Artcurial
The friendship between Hergé and Tchang
We are in 1934 when Hergé undertakes to send Tintin to China. After four adventures in Soviet Russia, America, the Belgian Congo, and Egypt, Tintin, therefore, flies to China for the fifth album of his adventures. Unlike the four previous albums, Hergé is, for the Blue Lotus, very keen to learn about the culture and history of the country in order to approach this new album with a more realistic approach. He then met Tchang Tchong-Jen, a young graduate of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Brussels. “ The meeting between Hergé and Tchang will be very important for Hergé’s line. » Explains Eric Leroy, Artcurial comic strip expert.“It allowed the artist to find a remarkable fluidity and freedom that we find in the beauty of chiaroscuro, thanks to his brush drawing on the empty and full, which will express all the Taoism of Hergé where we guess all the evolution of his thought. “ The friendship between the two men then gives a new dimension to the world of Tintin, nourished by a rich cultural background and a free and assertive style.
This reference album, undoubtedly one of the best in Tintin’s universe, marks a turning point in Hergé’s demanding and realistic approach with regard to his young hero and the foreign lands he has to visit. ” It was at the time of the Blue Lotus that I discovered a new world” he confided in 1989 (SADOUL, Numa, Interviews with Hergé, Tournai, Casterman). In Hergé’s career and work, there is a before and an after the Blue Lotus .
Le Lotus bleu, a turning point album for Hergé
Published in 1936, this album is the first of Tintin which meets a real success: a solid scenario, built and unified from the beginning to the end, as well as the first color illustrations called “inset”, participate in the success of the Blue Lotus. “ Hergé said that comics are above all about telling a story. Through this illustration of the Blue Lotus, probably the most beautiful cover of Tintin’s adventures, the whole atmosphere of this album is summed up. Direct color in Hergé’s work is extremely rare, ” explains Eric Leroy.
In the Blue Lotus, Tintin aims to dismantle the international opium trafficking in a country he knows nothing about, China. Accompanied by his new sidekick Tchang, in a nod to Hergé’s own friend, the young detective manages, over the course of hectic adventures, to overcome the obstacles that stand against him. Artcurial, give the appointment to fans o