Sempé at the Cartoon Museum in Basel

I went to see the Sempé show today. I had seen parts of it during the Museumsnacht, but the small museum was over crowded and I decided at the time that I’d come back another day.

museumsnacht basel

My French grammar books at school were illustrated with cartoons from Le Petit Nicolas.

It wasn’t really quiet today either. There was a museum tour while I was there, and the lady presenting had a very loud voice that you could hear on all floors. It’s a small museum. I learnt that Sempé went through a depressive period after his friend committed suicide. Following this tragedy, Sempé didn’t publish any work for 6 years. And only managed to recover by listening to music.

I learnt that Sempé required at least 2 weeks time for one his “New Yorker” covers.

And I learnt another French expression for money: pognon: Used by a couple sitting on a pier, in front of them a yacht harbour and the setting sun to describe the scene.

I like Sempé’s subtle humor. His illustrations are sentimental and nostalgic, even though they often point out and criticize disparities (e.g. between rich and poor, urban and rural).

A very enjoyable show, open ’til 13th April 2009.

I also liked the cartoons by Nicolas Mahler, another exhibition.

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