Vinciane De Traux, Director of Artcurial Benelux poses with an original front cover of "Tintin in America" from a 1942 painting by Tintin creator Herge at auction house Artcurial in Brussels on January 11, 2023, ahead of its auction in Paris on February 10, 2023. (Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)
Auctioneers eye new record for Tintin artwork at sale
Agence France-Presse / 05:41 PM January 13, 2023
BRUSSELS, Belgium — Known around the world for his blond quiff and daring adventures, Belgian comic book hero Tintin is setting the art world astir with an original illustration that could set a new record at the auction.
The 1942 black-and-white ink drawing by creator Herge for the cover of the third volume in the series, “Tintin in America,” is set to go on sale in Paris next month.
The illustration, which shows a Native American chief pointing an accusatory finger at the tied-up Tintin, has been given an estimate of between 2.2 million to 3.2 million euros ($2.4-3.5 million) by auction firm Artcurial.
That top figure would see it match an original illustration for the 1936 cover of the Tintin adventure “Blue Lotus” – which became the most expensive comic book art when it sold in 2021.
The sale of the Blue Lotus illustration originally drew ire from Nick Rodwell, the British husband of Herge’s second wife Fanny Vlamynck, who holds the rights to the Tintin works.
The famous picture of the black dragon on a red background was sold by members of the Casterman publishing family, who said their father Jean-Paul had been given it by Herge as a present when he was seven.
The future head of the publishing house reportedly kept the illustration folded up in a drawer for decades.
That was disputed by Rodwell, who criticized the Castermans for not returning the work and said it rightfully belonged in the Herge museum in Belgium.
But relations were eventually smoothed.
“The rights-holders of Herge’s works were pleased with the outcome of the sale,” de Traux said.
“Everyone is happy that the market is supporting the value of Tintin.”