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Rare Tintin comic book art expected to sell for millions at Paris auction

The 1936 work in Chinese ink, gouache and watercolour was destined as a cover for The Blue Lotus, but it never sat on any book store shelves because it was rejected for being too expensive to reproduce on a wide scale.
Comic book lovers and tourists alike can catch a socially distanced glimpse of a Tintin drawing by Herge in Paris before it goes under the hammer on Thursday (Jan 14), estimated to sell between 2 million euros (S$3.2 million) and 3 million euros and possibly break the record for the most expensive comic book art in history.
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The inked and water-painted original panel of the comic character Tintin from the 1936 "The Blue Lotus" album drawn by Belgian creator Herge, is displayed at the Artcurial auction house in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

he 1936 work in Chinese ink, gouache and watercolour, was destined as a cover for The Blue Lotus, the fifth volume of the Belgian journalist’s adventures. But it never sat on any book store shelves because it was rejected for being too expensive to reproduce on a wide scale – a victim of its own rare craftsmanship.

A 1975 bronze sculpture of the comic character Tintin and his dog snowy by Belgian sculptor Nathanael Neujean is displayed at the Artcurial auction house in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. The art work has an estimated value of 55,000 to 65,000 euros (US$66,900 to US$79,000). (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
TThey had to do a four colour process printing, with an additional colour. (But the publisher) thought that the comic albums were already expensive. Reproducing this cover art would increase the production costs,” said comics expert Eric Leroy at Art Curial auction house by the Champs-Elysees avenue.
As the name Blue Lotus suggests, the art work places Tintin in Asia. A huge red dragon appears on a black background by the Belgian reporter's petrified face. It is a prized addition to the universe of Tintin, the subject of recent shows in London and Barcelona, a 2011 Hollywood adaptation, a videogame and an app.
In Blue Lotus, Tintin travels to China during the 1931 Japanese invasion to investigate and expose – along with his dog Snowy – Japanese spy networks, drug-smuggling rings and other crimes.

Hergé, his wife Germaine and Chang in Brussels in 1934. Studios Hergé Collection

Herge, whose real name was Georges Remi, could break the record for the most expensive piece of comic book art at 2.6 million euros that was previously set by himself.

The Chinese inked on paper original of the comic character Tintin and his dog snowy as a pirate made for an advertising and drawn by Belgian creator Herge, is displayed at the Artcurial auction house in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)


A 1988 polychrome resin sculpture of the comic character Tintin and his dog snowy from the 1941 "The Crab with the Golden Claws" album drawn by Belgian creator Herge is displayed at the Artcurial auction house in Paris, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021. The art work has an estimated value of 400 to 900 euros (US$486 to US$1095). (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

“We set the previous record for the ‘Pages de Garde’ in 2014 ... it would be fair for this piece to break this record. Herge had done only five comic covers using this technique of direct colour so it’s very rare,” Leroy said.
(Source: AP)
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