Original, unused Tintin cover expected to sell for over €2 million

Hergé's original drawing for 'The Blue Lotus'. © HERGÉ / MOULINSART 2020 / © HERGÉ / MOULINSART 2020
Hergé’s original drawing for ‘The Blue Lotus’. © HERGÉ / MOULINSART 2020 / © HERGÉ / MOULINSART 2020

Earlier this year, Paris-based auction house Artcurial created a stir by revealing an exceptional item, new to the market: artwork by Hergé created as the initial cover design for the Tintin album Le Lotus bleu (The Blue Lotus) in 1936.

This artwork in Indian ink, watercolour and gouache on paper will be sold at auction in November, and is estimated to sell for anything between €2 – 3 million (currently, £1,790,843 – 2,686,266).

The art is being presented across Europe, currently exhibited in Artcurial’s gallery in Monaco until 11th September, then in Brussels from 22nd September to 2nd October, in Munich from 3rd to 6th November and finally in Paris on 19th and 20th November, before coming under the hammer on 21st November at Artcurial.

This initial cover design for Le Lotus bleu, Tintin’s fifth adventure, and the album itself, marked a turning point in Hergé’s career, and it’s undoubtedly one of the most evocative covers of any of the young reporter’s adventures.

After becoming friends with Tchang Tchong-Jen, the only real person other than Al Capone to be incorporated into the adventures of Tintin, Hergé’s style changed, becoming more assured.

The cover was apparently inspired by a photo of Anna May Wong, the actress who played Hui Fei in Shanghai Express.

Deemed too costly to reproduce in colour at the time, the design was turned down by the publisher. Hergé gave it to the young son of publisher Louis Casterman, and the boy kept it tucked away in a drawer, carefully folded in six.

Artcurial currently holds eight of the top ten auction prices for work by Hergé, including the world record price for a comic strip drawing by any artist, achieved on 24th May 2014 for the inside cover pages of a Tintin album (2.6M€ / 3.6M$).

“This artwork is a genuine masterpiece encaspulating Hergé’s genius,” enthuses Eric Leroy, Comic Strips expert, arc Artcurial,” and is probably the most beautiful Tintin album cover ever!”

There’s more information about the art and auction here on the Artcurial web site

There’s much more about The Blue Lotus and the inspiration behind the cover here on the official Tintin web site

Find The Blue Lotus on AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Exhibitions

Until Friday 11th September 2020 in Monaco

Artcurial SAM
Monte-Carlo Palace
3/9 boulevard des Moulins
98000 Monaco

From Tuesday 22nd September to Friday 2nd October 2020 in Brussels

Artcurial Belgium
5, avenue Franklin Roosevelt
1050 Brussels

From Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th November 2020 in Munich

Artcurial Germany
Galeriestrasse 2 b
80539 Munich

The auction takes place at 2.00pm on Saturday 21st November 2020, at Artcurial, 7 Rond-Point des Champs-Elysées
75008 Paris

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



Categories: Art and Illustration, Auction News, Bande Dessines - Translated, Comic Art, Cover Art, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News, Other Worlds

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