After years in a drawer, Tintin painting tipped to fetch over 2 million euros

PARIS (Reuters) – A painting by comic book hero Tintin, which had been folded in a drawer for years, is set to go up for sale on Thursday in a Paris auction house with an estimated price of more than 2 million euros.

The painting is the work of the Belgian illustrator Georges Remi, better known for his Nom de Plume Herge, who was the author of the Tintin comics. He died in 1983.

Herge submitted the painting for his publisher as the proposed cover for the Tintin and Struppi-Tintin and Struppi album “The Blue Lotus”, according to the Artcurial auction house.

However, the publisher von Herge rejected the painting on the grounds that the print would be too expensive due to the colors chosen.

Another Herge image was used for the cover, and the illustrator gifted the rejected image instead to Jean-Louis Casterman, the heir to the publisher who published the Tintin books.

The painting was saved by Casterman and folded in a draw. Until his death, he turned down offers to sell the work and said he appreciated it as a gift from Herge, according to Eric Leroy, comics expert at Artcurial.

The work has never been put up for sale, Leroy said. The estimate for the auction is between 2.2 and 2.8 million euros.

The picture shows the intrepid young reporter Tintin in oriental clothes, flanked by his dog Snowy, who is hiding in a vase from a rampant red dragon.

The ink, watercolor and gouache painting still bears the markings where it was folded.

“It’s the most beautiful privately owned product on the market,” said Leroy.

Reporting by Lea Guedj; Letter from Christian Lowe; Adaptation by Angus MacSwan

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