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Initial cover for Le Lotus Bleu album

ART & CULTURE

Moulinsart, Hergé Le Lotus Bleu (1936)Many people will have read The Adventures of Tintin comic series by the Belgian cartoonist, Georges Rémi. Famous during his lifetime, the artist is more commonly known as Hergé. He would have been pleased to know that his initial cover for the album Le Lotus Bleu would be estimated at 2 to 3 M euros. The artwork will be exhibited in Artcurial’s gallery in Monaco until September 11th, in Brussels from September 22nd to October 2nd and in Paris on November 19th and 20th, before being auctioned off on November 21st at Artcurial.

The artwork was a turning point for its artist’s career as it demonstrates a significant change and more assured sense of style. However, though this would become one of Hervé’s masterpieces, it was judged as too expensive to use as the cover of Le Lotus bleu in 1936. Therefore the publisher, Casterman, turned it down. As a result, Hervé gave his masterpiece to Casterman’s son who folded it and hid it away in his drawer.

Inspired by Tchang Tchong-Jen, the cover is made with Indian ink, watercolour, and gouache on paper.  Eric Leroy, a comic strip expert at Artcurial, has described the impact of Hervé and Tchang Tchong-Jen’s friendship: “It allowed the artist to discover a remarkable fluidity and freedom evident in his treatment of light and dark, through the brushstrokes he used for form and space, expressing the evolution of Hergé’s thinking and Taoism. » 

Having acknowledge the artwork as a genuine masterpiece, the auction house Artcurial recuperated the piece. Auctioning it off on November 21st, Artcurial already holds eight of ten auction prices for Hergé works. It actually received the world record price in May 2014 for the inside cover pages of a Tintin album, so the sale of this genuine artwork promises to provoke the fans of the ninth art.  

Artcurial, founded in 2002, is one of the leading auction house in France. With specialities ranging from street art, design, collector’s cars, jewelries, watches, to fine wines and spirits, the auction house has now gained international success. Their sales principally take place in Paris and Monaco, and they regularly hold exhibitions in Belgium, Germany, Italy, and Austria. 

- Charlotte Gillet