Jean-Jacques Sempé

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Sempé
Salon du livre de Paris 2011 - Jean-Jacques Sempé - 005.jpg
Jean-Jacques Sempé (2011)
Born Jean-Jacques Sempé
(1932-08-17) 17 August 1932 (age 81)
Bordeaux, France
Nationality French
Area(s) Cartoonist
Notable works
Le petit Nicolas

Jean-Jacques Sempé, usually known as Sempé (born 17 August 1932 in Bordeaux), is a French cartoonist. Some of his cartoons are quite striking, but retain a sentimental and often a somewhat gentle edge to them, even if the topic is a difficult one to approach. He once drew a series called Le petit Nicolas, starting it in the 1950s, but he is best known for his posterlike illustrations, usually drawn from a distant or high viewpoint depicting detailed countrysides or cities.[1]

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Sempé was expelled from school as a young man, and then failed to pass exams for the post office, a bank and the railroad.[2] He then found work selling tooth powder as a door-to-door salesman[2] and also worked delivering wine by bicycle in the Gironde.[3] After lying about his age, he joined the army in 1950, since it was “the only place that would give me a job and a bed,” he subsequently explained, and would occasionally get into trouble for drawing while he was supposed to be keeping watch during guard duty.[2]

After being discharged from the army, he moved to Paris and began working with René Goscinny.[2] Sempé has spent most of his life in Paris' Saint-Germain-des-Prés district.[3]

Artistic career[edit]

His career started in France within the context of the Franco-Belgian comics industry. His "mute" watercolors or single image sketches, where the characters speak in pictures or not at all (but somehow manage to convey a rich story) slowly gained international attention. He won his first award in 1952 which is given to encourage young amateur artists to turn professional.

His work has appeared as the cover of The New Yorker magazine many times. Sempé’s full page cartoons appeared in Paris Match for many years.[1] In the 1950s, Sempé became renowned for his creation of a character named Nicolas in his cartoons for Le Moustique, a comic book proposed by René Goscinny to Sempé.[4] Le Petit Nicolas appeared from 1954 in Le Moustique and Sempé drew upon childhood influences and memories to illustrate the comic. In 1960, the comic Le Petit Nicolas was published in Pilote magazine. It was unusual at the time modern children's literature given that it is centered around the experience of the child, rather than an adult interpretation of the world.

In general though, Sempé rarely draws from life, and draws something every day, putting sketches aside when he gets bored with them.[1]

Bibliography[edit]

Collections published Éditions Denoël[edit]

  • Rien n'est simple (1961)
  • Tout se complique (1962)
  • Sauve qui peut (1964)
  • Monsieur Lambert (1965)
  • La grande panique (1966)
  • Saint Tropez (1968)
  • L'information consommation (1968)
  • Marcelin Caillou (1969)
  • Des hauts et des bas (1970)
  • Face à face (1972)
  • Bonjour bonsoir (1974)
  • L'ascension sociale de Monsieur Lambert (1975)
  • Simple question d'équilibre (1977)
  • Un léger décalage (1977)
  • Les musiciens (1979)
  • Comme par hasard (1981)
  • De bon matin (1983)
  • Vaguement compétitif (1985)
  • Luxe, calme et volupté (1987)
  • Par avion (1989)
  • Vacances (1990)
  • Ames sœurs (1991)
  • Insondables mystères (1993)
  • Raoul Taburin (une bicyclette à propos de son père) (1995)
  • Grands rêves (1997)
  • Beau temps (1999)
  • Multiples intentions (2003)
  • Sentiments distingués (2007)
  • Sempé à New York (2009)

Filmed portrait[edit]

  • Sempé, rêver pour dessiner (2002) – director Françoise Gallo – International Prize FIFAP UNESCO "Meilleure démarche d'Artsite" DVD Digipack (fr)

Compilations[edit]

  • En avant -1967 – Pauvert
  • Quelques manifestants – 1983 – ISBN 2-207-22943-2
  • Quelques enfants – 1983 – ISBN 2-207-22942-4
  • Quelques jours de congé – 1984 – ISBN 2-207-23010-4
  • Quelques vices impunis – 1986 – ISBN 2-207-23798-2
  • Quelques romantiques – 1986 – ISBN 2-207-23288-3
  • Quelques représentations – 1987 – ISBN 2-207-23420-7
  • Quelques concerts – 1987 – ISBN 2-207-23421-5
  • Catherine Certitude (avec Patrick Modiano) – 1988 – ISBN 2-07-056423-1
  • Quelques artistes et gens de lettres – 1989
  • Quelques citadins – 1989 – ISBN 2-207-23579-3
  • Quelques sentiments de culpabilité – 1991 – ISBN 2-207-23860-1
  • Quelques meneurs d'hommes – 1991 – ISBN 2-207-23087-2
  • L'histoire de Monsieur Sommer (avec Patrick Süskind) – 1991 – ISBN 2-07-056615-3
  • Quelques mystiques - 2000 - ISBN 2-207-24810-0
  • Quelques philosophes – 2002 – ISBN 2-207-25373-2
  • Le monde Sempé – 2002 – ISBN 2-207-25399-6
  • Un peu de Paris – 2001
  • Un peu de la France – nov 5 (aquarelles sans texte)
  • Sempé : livre édité en tirage limité à 500 exemplaires en 1998, reproduisant 51 dessins inédits ou couvertures du "New Yorker"; format 30x25 cm (édition galerie Martine GOSSIEAUX à Paris)
  • Sempé : livre édité en tirage limité à 500 exemplaires en 2000, reproduisant 61 dessins inédits; format 28x22 cm (édition galerie Martine GOSSIEAUX à Paris)
  • Sempé : Enfances – livre édité en tirage limité à 900 exemplaires en 2004, sans texte, reproduisant 40 dessins en partie inédits; format 33x24 cm (édition galerie Martine GOSSIEAUX à Paris)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Jean-Jacques Sempé: Luck of the draw". The Independent. UK. 21 October 2006. Retrieved 9 May 2009. 
  2. ^ a b c d Charles McGrath (8 November 2006). "Jean-Jacques Sempé’s Tales of Two Cities". New York Times. Retrieved 9 May 2009. 
  3. ^ a b Laura Moser (24 November 2001). "Drawing on life's little ironies: Cartoonist Jean-Jacques Sempé tells Laura Moser why he is a loss to football". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2009. 
  4. ^ "Jean-Jacques Sempé". Lambiek.net. Retrieved 10 May 2009. 

External links[edit]