Auctions | December 28, 2022

Hergé’s Original Cover Drawing for Tintin in America to Auction


Indian ink, graphite and corrective gouache for the cover of the 1942 ‘full-page’ edition of the comic book Tintin in America.

Artcurial will present as highlight of its The World of Hergé, Tintin’s Creator auction on February 10 2023, a unique work by Hergé: the original drawing for the full-page cover of the 1942 edition of the album Tintin in America, estimated at €2.2 to €3.2 million ($2.3 - $3.4 million)

The third volume in the Tintin series which sees the young Belgian reporter travelling to the United States, spending time in Chicago and in the Midwest, is considered one of the best-selling of the series. Tintin in America was first published in 1932 with a small printed illustration on the cover showing Tintin sitting on a rock with Snowy lying next to him. On the occasion of the third edition, in 1937, the small cover illustration was replaced by one showing Tintin riding a horse. It was printed on paper and directly pasted onto the album’s cover.

By the early 1940s, printing techniques had evolved and allowed for a full-page cover in colour. The drawing which will be presented at Artcurial is the original drawing for the cover of the 1942 edition, which was reused for the 1946 first colour edition and has been in use since.

Artcurial holds several world auction records for works by Hergé. In 2012, the auction house sold the original drawing for the cover illustration of the 1932 edition of Tintin in America for a record €1,338,509.
The Adventures of Tintin have been translated into over 100 languages, testifying to their universal character and the timeless aesthetic of the artist. Hergé’s talent lies in the simplicity of the line and the forms: a simple line, readable and understandable by all. To this day that famous aesthetic, dubbed the "ligne claire" (the clear line), has lost none of its modernity.

Hergé was a great admirer of the contemporary art of his time, an interest that is reflected in the Tintin albums and which even earned Hergé the honour of having his image immortalised by Andy Warhol in the 1970s. Tintin has become a cultural icon hailed by contemporary artists as diverse as Roy Liechtenstein, Keith Haring, Dran and Invader. The Belgian reporter is celebrated by Street Art, theater and cinema.

The 20th century has allowed Comic Art to gain its place among the Fine Arts. From a minor art form, Comic Strips quickly developed into the so-called “9th Art”. Hergé’s creations, which once belonged to the specialised comic strips market, are now sold on the global art market. The recent world records obtained by Artcurial for Hergé’s drawings approach now the prices of the world’s greatest contemporary artists.