On Thursday 14th January, under the hammer of Arnaud Oliveux, Artcurial organised two sales sessions dedicated to Comic Strips. At 2:15 pm, the session dedicated to “The World of Hergé, Tintin’s creator” began, presenting more than 100 artworks.
The long-awaited lot was lot #18, an exceptional work, never before seen on the art market: the project by Hergé for the cover of the original edition of 1936 The Blue Lotus album. The tension was at its height in the room, on the internet or on the phone at the time of this historic auction.
After a bidding battle between three clients by telephone, this highly coveted masterpiece finally flew away at €3,175,400, acquired by a private collector. The Blue Lotus thus sets a new world record for a work by Hergé sold at auction, but also a new world record for an original comic strip work sold at auction, all artists combined.
The leader in this field, Artcurial currently holds eight of the top ten auction prices for work by Hergé, including the previous world record price for a comic strip drawing by any artist, achieved on 24 May 2014 for the inside cover pages of a Tintin album €2.6M.
This initial cover design for The Blue Lotus, Tintin’s fifth adventure and the album that marked a turning point in Hergé’s career, is undoubtedly one of the most evocative covers of any of the young reporter’s adventures. After becoming friends with Tchang Tchong-Jen, the only real person other than Al Capone to be incorporated into the adventures of Tintin, Hergé’s style changed, becoming more assured.