The designer Jean-Jacques Sempé, father of “Little Nicolas”, died –

French designer Jean-Jacques Sempé died Thursday at the age of 89, his wife Martine Gossieaux Sempé announced. He was known for his illustrations of the adventures of “Little Nicolas” and his humorous press cartoons.

“Comedian designer Jean-Jacques Sempé passed away peacefully on Thursday evening, August 11, 2022, in his 89th year, in his holiday residence, surrounded by his wife and close friends”, indicated Marc Lecarpentier, his biographer and friend, in a statement to AFP.

Great French master of humor and poetry, a mixture of derision and modesty, Sempé has traced from the 1950s until today a work full of good nature: drawings for the “New Yorker”, “Paris Match ” or “L’Express” to the albums of “Petit Nicolas”.

Sempé was one of the most requested artists by the New Yorker with a hundred covers drawn by his hand.

>> Listen again to Jean-Jacques Sempé on his career in New York on the show Tout un monde in 2016:

The cartoonist Sempé looks back on his career in New York / Everyone / 8 min. / December 19, 2016

A dozen albums published

Born in 1932 in Pessac, near Bordeaux, the designer has published a dozen albums in his career, “Saint Tropez”, “Tout se complicate” and especially “Petit Nicolas”, sold today at some 15 million euros. copies.

A natural child, beaten and stuttering, Sempé did not really have the childhood of his hero Nicolas, whom he raised with Goscinny in an idealized France of the 1950s. He sold his first boards in 1950 to Sud Ouest, which he signed “DRO” (from “to draw”).

The “Little Nicolas” born in 1959

Since the “Petit Nicolas” that he created in 1959 with René Goscinny, Jean-Jacques Sempé has published almost one album a year and signed a hundred front pages in the press.

A bus on a bridge crossing the Seine at night, musicians, cyclists, a fire-eater, scenes in Central Park, Saint-Tropez or the Jardin du Luxembourg… In each of his works, we find his themes of predilection: the smallness of man in nature, his loneliness in the city, his arguments, his ridiculousness and his excessive ambitions, the limits of team spirit.


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