The Artcurial auction house has sold eight of Hergé's great Tintin paintings for record prices, including one sold in 2014 for $3.6 million. The house is expected to break a new record on January 14 with another Tintin drawing. It is auctioning a 1936 cover drawn by Hergé for one of Tintin's volumes entitled "The Blue Lotus."
According to AFP, the cover is expected to fetch over two million euros.
The "masterpiece" features Tintin in a Chinese costume, emerging from a jar in front of a menacing dragon.
The amazing cover made with Indian ink, watercolor, and gouache, will likely break the last record price fetched by another Tintin drawing in 2014.
The Blue Lotus cover is one of the Belgian artist's greatest pieces, and was considered a turning point in his journey. It was published in 1934-1935 in the "Petit-Vingtième" magazine before the official release of the album in 1936.
Georges Rémi, known as Hergé, fell for China after he met Tchang Tchong-Jen, a graduate of the Royal Academy of Science, Letters and Fine Arts of Belgium, and they became friends for life.
The painting wasn't selected for the cover of "The Blue Lotus" because it was judged too expensive to reproduce by the publisher, which ultimately used a simplified version of the same scene.
But, this work, displayed in an online auction due to the pandemic restrictions, has raised many question marks. According to the owners, heirs of the Tintin publisher Louis Casterman, the drawing on sale was given as a present by Hergé to Casterman's son (seven years old at the time).
It is believed that the kid folded the drawing and kept it in a drawer for decades.
However, experts are skeptical about this story. Philippe Goddin, professional expert of Tintin, says the story of Jean-Paul Casterman (who died in 2019) about receiving this painting as a gift is "very doubtful."
He suggests the folding marks on the drawing because Hergé placed it in an envelope before sending it to the magazine's vice president.