- Sat, 9 Sep 2023 13:54:20 +0330
Sempé is one of the cartoonists who have best portrayed French society, especially daily Parisian life, but he has also managed to reflect the rural environment. Born in Bordeaux in 1932, he published his first drawing at age 18 in the local newspaper Sud-Ouest and soon began collaborating on Noir et Blanc. Later, he did it in Paris Match, Punch and other prestigious publications, such as L’Express. Already in 1952 he obtained the Carrizey Prize, intended for first-time cartoonists. He achieved fame for his watercolors, starring characters who rarely articulate words but who are able to communicate an idea from simplicity, with exquisite humor.
He has published thirty books with his drawings and has illustrated a hundred covers of The New Yorker magazine. But, for the general public, Sempé is the draftsman of The Little Nicholas (Le petit Nicolas), the series he created in 1956 with the screenwriter René Goscinny (under the pseudonym Agostini) for the Belgian magazine Le Moustique. From 1959, Little Nicholas began to be published in Sud-Ouest Dimanche and Pilote and, since 1960, in compilation books. More than ten million copies of the books that make up this series, starring a 7-year-old boy, have been sold worldwide.
In Spain, Sempé's work has been known since, in 1956, many of his drawings appeared reproduced in Bruguera's magazine Selecciones de humor de El DDT. The political magazine Triunfo also received in its pages its inimitable vignettes between 1962 and 1971. The first book of Little Nicolás arrived in 1962 from the Editorial Vergara and, later, the series passed on to other publishers, such as Doncel, Planeta, Alfaguara, Círculo de Lectores, La Galera and Loqueleo, also being published in Catalan. In 1973, the Editorial Fundamentos published in Castilian Sálvese who can, translation of Sauve qui peut. Also in 1973, Júcar, from Madrid, launched Nothing is easy and Everything is complicated and, two years later, The Great Panic, all three in his collection “Los humoristas”. Already in 2004, Ediciones El Jueves put on sale both volumes of El mundo de Sempé. Norma Editorial grouped in 2015 in their collection Humor the books Ellas y Los. In 2016, Blackie Books, from Barcelona, published Marcelín.
In the summer of 2009, within the framework of the Madrid Book Fair, a sample of Sempé's original work could be visited in the Madrid Community tent for the first time.
The Paris City Council dedicated a large exhibition to Sempé in 2012 that brought together more than three hundred drawings. The exhibition was organized by the Galerie Martine Gossieaux in Paris, depositary of the Sempé fund. In Barcelona, at the end of 2015, around thirty serigraphs and engravings signed and numbered by Sempe could be seen at the Jaimes bookstore in Barcelona. In the summer of 2016, coinciding with the passing of the Tour de France in Andorra, another exhibition of drawings by Sempé, with the bicycle as a theme, could be seen at the Escaldes-Engordany Art Center (CAEE).