Rare Tintin draw­ing fetches US$1 mil. in HK

The China Post - - ARTS -

A rare draw­ing of comic book hero Tintin by Bel­gian car­toon­ist Herge fetched over US$1 mil­lion at auc­tion in Hong Kong Mon­day as ex­perts say comic art is be­com­ing as col­lectible as paint­ings.

The art­work is an il­lus­tra­tion from the car­toon­ist’s “The Blue Lo­tus” book, pub­lished in 1936, which sees Tintin and side­kick Snowy the dog on an ad­ven­ture in Shang­hai.

It sold for HK$9.6 mil­lion (US$1.2 mil­lion) and French auc­tion house Artcu­rial said it had been bought by an Asian col­lec­tor.

Drawn in monochrome, it shows Tintin be­ing pulled along a street in a rick­shaw with a po­lice­man look­ing on.

The draw­ing is the only orig­i­nal from the book to re­main in pri­vate hands with the rest in mu­se­ums, Artcu­rial said.

“‘The Blue Lo­tus’ is con­sid­ered by spe­cial­ists as the mas­ter­piece al­bum of Herge,” said Eric Leroy, Artcu­rial’s ex­pert in comic strips.

“The de­sign and draw­ing of Herge had be­come ma­ture ... It was also un­usual to talk about China in the 30s in Europe.”

The piece had been pre­dicted to sell at be­tween HK$8.6 mil­lion and HK$13 mil­lion.

The record for a Tintin piece was set by a 1937 comic strip sold at an Artcu­rial auc­tion in Paris in May for US$3.4 mil­lion. It was bought by an Amer­i­can col­lec­tor.

De­spite a down­turn in the Chi­nese econ­omy which some fear will dent the re­gion’s bur­geon­ing art mar­ket, auc­tion houses in Hong Kong say they are still op­ti­mistic that rare pieces will sell.

It is the first time that Artcu­rial has held an auc­tion in the south­ern Chi­nese city, which has be­come an art hub for Asia.

It will hold two evenings of auc- tions Mon­day and Tues­day, fea­tur­ing ev­ery­thing from paint­ings by Pi­casso and Renoir to bags by Her­mes and a Mercedes Benz 300 SL Road­ster.

Along­side the Herge draw­ing con­tem­po­rary Euro­pean pieces from lead­ing comic artists Enki Bi­lal, Moe­bius and Ni­co­las de Crecy were also on sale.

“Mod­ern comics are like a paint­ing — it’s like mod­ern art,” says Leroy.

Two of the comic art­works broke records for sales by the artist Mon­day, with a Bi­lal piece fetch­ing HK$3.1 mil­lion and a Moe­bius go­ing for HK$2.4 mil­lion.

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