Friday, March 6, 2015

A Gouache by Jean Giraud

Christie's in Paris will be hosting an auction of comics and illustration on March 14.



One of the lots is a Jean Giraud cover for a 1970 Blueberry comic called the "Iron Horse," 36 X 49.2 cm (14.17 x 19.37 in.). Giraud's image of the American West evokes the work of Frederic Remington and Charles Marion Russell.

Giraud (1938-2012) is better known by the pseudonym Moebius, which he used for his science fiction work. He painted with equal virtuosity in almost every medium, including pen-and-ink, watercolor, colored inks, acrylic, and oil. 


This one is in gouache. The detail shows the variety of strokes and colors he uses to describe the complex forms of the train. He probably executed a careful underdrawing first, but he didn't hesitate to cover it up with opaque paint.

Gouache allows for a variety of handling, from fine delicate strokes, such as those of the grasses in the foreground, juicy blobs, such as on the horse, or brilliant opaque color, such as in the sky.

The upcoming Christie's auction will include a fine selection of bandes dessinées and illustration, including Uderzo, Bilal, Manara, Pratt, Schuiten, Juillard, and Guarnido. The selection was made by Galerie Daniel Maghen of Paris.

11 comments:

Ivo said...

You may call European comics just "European comics", because "bandes dessinnées" is only the french word for "comics". In Belgium (Flemish part) we call them "strips".
But maybe for Americans "bandes dessinées" sounds more 'chique' ;-).

James Gurney said...

Ivo, I know what you mean. I don't know if it sounds more chique. I only call them bandes dessinées because that's how Christie's titles the auction. Wikipedia redirects English language searches for bandes dessinées to "Franco-Belgian comics." I suppose to distinguish them from manga, fumetti, and superhero comics. Actually this exhibition contains work from Spain, Korea, America, and many other countries.

keith said...

Considering that Giraud is French bandes dessinées seems appropriate.

Rich said...

Each stroke a direct hit: love it!

Nenko said...

For Moebius fans: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNas99oEXBU

Tobias Allen Wolf said...

Great piece! The masterful use of value control in the area where the train meets the tracks is truly impressive. It subtly evokes dust being kicked up by the movement of the train and adds an almost subliminal sense of speed and urgency to the scene.

Effects like this can be so easily added as sloppy afterthoughts in the digital realm today. So it's a nice reminder of just how much planning had to be put into traditional work before a single color was laid down.

I think it helps to have a bit of experience of working with Gouache to appreciate what level of skill is on display as well. The craftsmanship and attention to dramatic detail is undeniable.

Don't know if anyone here saw it, but there was a great Moebius post by Open Culture that went pretty viral the other day. It relates his advice to aspiring artists:

http://www.openculture.com/2015/03/moebius-gives-18-wisdom-filled-tips-to-aspiring-artists-1996.html

Dave Jacob Hoffman said...

Wow, I'd never seen anything besides his scifi work. Thanks!

Chris James said...

I read the title as "A Gouache by Jean Gerome" and wondered why the color was so saturated.

Steve said...

The blog Lines and Colors has a recent post on this Christie's auction with several more images:
http://linesandcolors.com/

en_b said...

Someone may have mentioned this but THIS actual painting along with a handful of others (another moebius, a big Juanjo Guarnido + more) is on display at Christie's New York right now. Definitely check it out if you're near Rockefeller Center midtown. Its free.

James Gurney said...

Steve, glad you mentioned the excellent post on Lines & Colors.

En-B, thanks for mentioning that! Darn. We were just in NYC today and we went right by Christies not knowing those were there.