A photo of the Belgian designerHerg(19071983) set a new record for the most expensive work in comics, sold for 3.2 million ($ 3.8 million) on January 14 in a sale at Artcurial in Paris.
The 1936 gouache painting was originally intended as the cover image for The Blue Lotus, the fifth volume on the boy reporter Tintin, recounting his trips to China during the Japanese invasion of 1931, the usual setting of the time.
The work was ultimately too expensive for the publisher Casterman to reproduce with the four-color printing technique.
The artwork is actually one of five direct color drawings by Herg, who struggled to execute his vision of the comic in color due to the high costs of the technical procedures involved. The Blue Lotus, the artist produced a simplified design and gave the rejected version to his publisher’s young son, Jean-Paul Casterman. He had stayed in the family ever since.
“By virtue of its uniqueness, this comic book masterpiece deserves its world record and confirms that the comic book market is in excellent health”, declared Eric Leroy, the comic book expert of the house. of auction.
The Tintin series in particular has proven popular among collectors in recent years, with multiple top-level sales exceeding $ 1 million, including the 2.5 million ($ 2.9 million) cover ofTintin and the shooting starin 2015, and coverage of $ 1.1 millionTintin in the land of the Sovietsin May 2019.
The most recent auction exceeded the first pre-sale estimate by 2.8 million ($ 3.4 million). Three bidders arguing over the phone pushed the price up to record highs, eclipsing the existing comic book record of 2.5 million ($ 3.4 million).
This work, a two-page board used as the front page of the comic strip which featured numerous scenes of Tintin and his dog, Snowy, on their adventures, was auctioned in 2014, also at Artcurial, which is responsible for eight of the top 10 prizes obtained for Herg. works, depending on Artnet price database.
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