15 January 2021 00:35
A painting of Tintin by the Belgian artist Hergé yesterday sold for €3.2 million in Paris, breaking the record for the most expensive original comic book art sold at auction in history. Internet and telephone bidders battled over the 1936 image of the boy reporter and his dog Snowy hiding in a Ming vase against a backdrop of a red Chinese dragon. The new record, which includes fees and was set at the Artcurial auction house, is more than £2.8m. The old record was for front pages of Tintin comic books by Hergé, whose real name was Georges Remi, that sold for €2.6m in 2014. The india ink, gouache and watercolor painting was meant to be the front cover of The Blue Lotus comic book, which is regarded as one of Hergé's best, but was ditched after proving too expensive to print in large volumes.
Hergé gave the painting to Louis Casterman, the son of his publisher, when he was seven-years-old. He kept it tucked away in a drawer, folded into six, which experts believe helped preserve the cover, and his heirs put it up for auction. "The comic strip, through the great Hergé, proves that it is an art in its own right, with some works capable of competing with the greatest painters and artists," Numa Sadoul, author of Tintin et Moi, told the Le Figaro newspaper after the auction. The Blue Lotus is the fifth Tintin adventure and pits the boy reporter against spies and smuggling rings during the 1931 Japanese invasion in China. PARIS: A painting of comic book hero Tintin that was kept folded in a drawer for years sold at a Paris auction on Thursday for 3.175 million euros ($3.86 million), the auction house said.
Until his death, he declined offers to sell the work, saying he treasured it as a gift from Herge, according to Eric Leroy, comic book expert at Artcurial. The 3.2 million euro sale price is before the auctioneer's fees are added. The price exceeded the top end of the estimate set by the auctioneers of 2.8 million euros. The image in the painting shows the intrepid young reporter Tintin, in oriental dress and flanked by his dog, Snowy, hiding in a vase from a rampant red dragon. The painting, in ink, watercolour and gouache, still bears the marks where it was folded. A Tintin drawing by Belgian artist Herge has sold in Paris for €2.6 million, breaking the record for the most expensive comic book art. The 1936 work in Chinese ink, gouache and watercolour was destined as a cover for The Blue Lotus, the fifth volume of the adventures of Tintin, the young reporter created by Herge. The record price set at Thursday's sale, organised by the Artcurial auction house, did not include auction fees. Work by Herge, whose real name was Georges Remi, previously set the record for the most expensive pieces of comic book art with the front pages of Tintin comic books that also sold for €2.6 million, including auction fees.