Art9 is pleased to present Line and Frame: A Survey of European Comic Art, featuring a selection of original work from the last 70 years by over 50 of the most renowned artists including Hergé, Moebius, and Enki Bilal. The exhibition will be organized into six sections: Franco-Belgian Tradition, Post-War Masters, Science Fiction & the Métal Hurlant Generation, Modern Icons, Contemporary Vision and Independent Voices. Presented with cultural partners Cultural Services of the French Embassy, Consulate of Belgium, Wallonie-Bruxelles International, Europe Comics, French-American Foundation and ComicBooks for Kids, Line and Frame: A Survey of European Comic Art is the first comprehensive exhibition of original European comic art in the United States. An opening reception will be held on February 27, 2020 from 6-8pm at Danese/Corey (511 West 22nd Street), and the exhibition will be on view through March 14, 2020. The exhibition is organized by Art9 Founder, Philippe Labaune. Exhibition Consultant: Bill Kartalopoulos.
Comic art is widely considered to be a fine art, especially among European enthusiasts, a sentiment that is quickly gaining traction in the United States. Since the 1960s, comics have been described as the Ninth Art (with the other eight including painting, sculpture, poetry, etc), providing the inspiration for the Art9 name. What makes this art form unique is its ability to appeal across generations, inviting return reading throughout one's lifetime.
The bandes dessinées (BDs) or comics from the Franco-Belgian school are widely known in the United States and their characters have become part of popular culture. Line and Frame: A Survey of European Comic Art includes one of the biggest names within this genre, Hergé (The Adventures of Tintin) and provides a rare chance to see the artist's hand at work. The exhibition will debut in America a rare Hergé’s strips and his draft known as “crayonné” from his series, The Adventures of Tintin: “Les Bijoux de la Castafiore” (“The Castafiore Emerald”). In addition to Hergé popularity across all ages, he pioneered the “Ligne Claire” or “clear line” style which consists of strong lines, without hatching, paired with bold colors which influenced artists for generations.
The Science Fiction & Fantastic Visions (1970-1990) presentation brings together artists who explore worlds unknown. One of the biggest comic artists in the exhibition can be found within this section, Moebius, a pseudonym for Jean Giraud. Giraud’s work has creatively influenced some of the most renowned American movie directors like George Lucas and Ridley Scott. While known for his strips and graphic novels, Giraud’s original artwork is painted in great detail with watercolors. Other major artists within this presentation include Philippe Druillet, the French artist who co-created Heavy Metal Magazine with Moebius, and Belgian artist Francois Schuiten, whose comics focus on urban living and architecture’s ability to drive society.
In Contemporary Icons (1980-2000), visitors will find work by established artists, while Independent Voices (2000-2020) represents up-and-coming artists. The current highest-selling, living comic artist, Enki Bilal, can be found within Contemporary Icons. Bilal has had solo exhibitions at The Louvre and has published eight graphic novels in English. Another artist of note featured in Ink & Strip, is Nicolas De Crecy, whose artwork pulls from the Hergé style of realism mixed with cartoons, with a twist. For his backgrounds, De Crecy mixes locations, combining something that is distinctly New York with something distinctly European. Within Contemporary Icons (1980-2000) and Independent Voices (2000-2020), viewers can find work by artists who have been featured on the cover of the New Yorker, including artists such as Jacques de Loustal.
Though the line work of comics and the original illustrations may be simple in execution, the content is innately complicated. Talented comic artists must succinctly organize their ideas and develop a rhythm within a certain amount of pages. Original comic strips and illustrations are not a means to an end, but are considered a work of art in their own right. Jean Giraud aka Moebius once said: “The comics were not only stories to enjoy, they were drawings that possessed me…for a few minutes”. By bringing together a selection of work by preeminent artists of the highest caliber of craftsmanship, each with their own distinct style, vision, and unique story to tell, Line and Frame: A Survey of European Comic Art invites visitors to leave the outside world behind, and for a few moments have the ability to immerse themselves into the various worlds created by the artists.
Artists include: Fred Beltran, Georges Bess, Enki Bilal, François Boucq, Claire Bretécher, Florence Cestac, Nicolas De Crecy, Philippe Druillet, Greg, Juanjo Guarnido, Hergé, André Juillard, Olivier Ledroit, Liberatore, Régis Loisel, Jacques de Loustal, Milo Manara, Stan Manoukian, Jacques Martin, Jean-Claude Mézières, Moebius, Hugo Pratt, Reiser, François Schuiten, Paolo Serpieri, William Vance and Yslaire.
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Art9 was founded by avid comic collector, Philippe Labaune, as a way to introduce the art of original, European comics, a beloved and striving art form, to wider audiences in America. Art9 will present at Festival International de la BD d’Angoulême this January. www.Art9us.com
About Art9 Founder Philippe Labaune
Over the past 15 years, Labaune has worked on building his personal collection of original comic pieces. After 25 years in the financial industry, Labaune sold his partnership and left to establish Art9. Labaune is a member of the Society of Illustrators and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.