Following the success of the Martine exhibition in Belgium at the end of March, 27 original illustrations by Marcel Marlier, produced for the Martine (or Debbie, as she is known in English) series of illustrated books, will be on display in Paris from April 24th before being auctioned on April 27th. The artworks, which come directly from the illustrator’s family, follow the adventures of the famous heroine who delighted several generations of children. Her phenomenal success saw sales of more than 100 million albums, translated into around thirty languages.
Marcel Marlier was only 21 years of age when he started his career as an illustrator of children’s books with Casterman, the famous publisher of The Adventures of Tintin. In 1954, Martine, a twelve-year old girl, was born out of the collaboration between Gilbert Delahaye and Marcel Marlier; her mini adventures of daily life quickly captivating young girls of the time. Martine reflected the optimistic mood of the baby-boom; always happy and keen to learn, she was interested in everything around her and so found out about nature, mixed with animals, played with her friends, enjoyed sports, etc., always on the go.
The talent of Marcel Marlier lay in the fact that he knew how to draw in a way which reached children – his drawings were realistic with accurate details, emphasising attitudes and portraying movement, with great care taken over the backgrounds. He used colours a lot, which were very dense. The images were unambiguous and instantly understandable, enabling the young reader to comprehend Martine’s latest adventure at first glance.
Success was immediate and new titles followed one after the other. It was a true publishing phenomenon, with eventually sixty albums being printed at a rate of one or two per year. More than sixty-five million French language examples have been sold and another thirty-five million in translation (in English she was known as Debbie).
A panel of the young heroine’s adventures will be offered for auction on April 27th, comprising gouaches on paper of Martine à la mer – where we see her eating an ice cream, running behind her little dog on the beach; gouaches of Martine à la montagne showing the young heroine skiing or skating while other illustrations show Martine at the funfair, at the circus, at the park or going sailing. The collection will also include drawings produced to illustrate album covers.
Public exhibition in Paris
Wednesday 24th April, from 11am to 7pm
Thursday 25th April, from 11am to 7pm
Friday 26th April, from 11am to 5pm
Auction in Paris
Saturday 27th April 2019 at 2pm
Saveria de Valence
Tél. +33 1 42 99 20 11