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The Blue Lotus: a Comic Book

发表于 12-31-2020 13:21:09 | 显示全部楼层 |阅读模式
Tobias Grey, What Tintin Taught Europans About China; The original cover art for 'The Blue Lotus,' an artistic breakthrough for the cartoonist Hergé, will be auctioned in Paris next month. Wall Street Journal, Dec 26, 2020 (in the Review section).
https://www.wsj.com/articles/wha ... t-china-11608919200

(a) " 'It's too good for children!” exclaimed Georges Remi about 'The Blue Lotus,' the fifth in his series of comic books about the intrepid boy reporter Tintin. Remi—better known to readers by his pen name Hergé—created the character in 1929 for a Belgian newspaper, but it was the books that made Tintin world-famous: 23 were published before the cartoonist's death in 1983. When 'The Blue Lotus' appeared in 1936, Hergé was 29 years old"
(i) Hergé
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hergé  (1907-1983; birth name: Georges Prosper Remi; [in childhood] sexually abused by a maternal uncle; "he experimented with different pseudonyms, using 'Jérémie' and 'Jérémiades' before settling on 'Hergé,' the French pronunciation of his reversed initials (R.G.) His work was first published under this name in December 1924")
(A) Georges (name)
(B) Rémy (name)
(or Remi; is associated with the Latin name Remigius)
(C) French orthography
(section 1 Alphabet: table shows pronunciation of R and G)
(ii) The Blue Lotus  蓝莲花
(with aid from Zhang Chongren [1907-1998; born in present-day 上海市闵行区七宝镇; 张充仁; also known as Chang Chong-jen]; "At their [book company's] advice, he renamed the story from The Adventures of Tintin in the Far East to The Blue Lotus, commenting of this new title: 'It is short, it sounds Chinese and it is mysterious' ")
(A) Tintin (character)
(Hergé created Tintin as a Caucasoid Belgian who was a native of Brussels, aged 14–15 years old with blonde hair)
(B) Tintin. Hergé / Moulinsart, undateden.
("Tintin is neither a surname nor a first name, it is much more than that[.] Tintin is a totally unique world, a myth or a saga. * * * He is aged between 16 and 18. * * * 'Since the Soviets [the first book in the series], the character of Tintin has not evolved. From a graphic standpoint Tintin is still a sketch' (Numa Sadoul, Tintin et moi, Casterman, p.40)" )

(b) "On Jan 14 [2021], Artcurial will auction the original cover art for 'The Blue Lotus,' in Indian ink, watercolor and gouache on paper. It shows Tintin and his dog Snowy poking their heads out of a Ming vase to confront a giant trompe-l’oeil dragon painted on the wall behind them; both parties look surprised by the encounter. * * * The cover art at auction next month is unique. When Hergé submitted it to his publisher Louis Casterman, the art was deemed too costly to reproduce using the standard four-color printing method. Hergé came up with a simpler version [shown in Wiki page for the book] for use in the book but gave the original to Casterman's young son, who folded it in six and stored it in a drawer. His heirs have now decided to sell the drawing."
(A) Artcurial
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artcurial (a French auction house in Paris: "In 2001, Nicolas Orlowski acquired the Artcurial Gallery from L'Oréal. He * * * established an auction house by the same name" [Wiki does not say when, but its official website says 2002] )
(B) Press release: Le Lotus Bleu a Masterpiece by Hergé. Artcurial, undated
https://www.artcurial.com/sites/ ... D-lotus-bleu-en.pdf  
("coming under the hammer on 21 November [2020] in Paris, estimated at 2 to 3 M€")
Nothing is reported about the sale, so likely the auction was somehow postponed to "next month."

This article of WSJ, written by its reporter Tobias Grey, displayed the same cover as in that in the Artcurial page.
(ii) Indian ink
("India ink was first invented in China, but the English term India(n) ink was coined due to their later trade with India")
(iii) gouache (n; late 19th century French, from Italian [noun masculine] guazzo [meaning gouache, per Wiktionary])

What do gouache paintings look like?
(A) Watercolor vs Gouache – Know Actual Difference Between Them. Polaroid FotoBar, undated
(paintings side-by-side at the top; " 'Gouache' is a French word that is derived from another Italian word, 'guazzo' which means 'mud.' It was named thus due to Gouache's properties of opacity and thickness, which mirror the opacity and thickness of mud. * * * At the basic level, Gouache is a type of Watercolor paint. An oversimplified definition of this color is 'Watercolor with chalk' or 'Watercolor with white pigments.' * * * the same ingredients as Watercolor, with the only exception being the addition of white pigments. * * * the same gum arabic as its' binding agent. The pigments in it [Gouache] are larger in both size and number than in Watercolor. This gives Gouache a much higher density, making it thicker and heavier than Watercolor")
(B) Erika Lancaster, 3 Tips to Combine Watercolor and Gouache Like a Pro. Jan 3, 2019
https://www.erikalancaster.com/a ... -gouache-like-a-pro
(paintings side-by-side half way down the page, showing a pear with a single leaf; "Matisse’s famous paper cut outs were created using gouache! * * * In terms of differences, watercolor is transparent, while gouache is opaque. Most of the time (depending on the thickness of the paint layer), when watercolor is placed on paper, we're able to see the underlying paper through the paint. Conversely, when gouache is placed on paper, its thickness and opaqueness covers up the surface fully unless it's been heavily diluted with water. * * * As previously explained, gouache is the opaque sister of watercolor")

Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. Manhattan: Museum of Modern Art, Oct 12, 2014–Feb 10, 2015 (an exhibition)
.https://www.moma.org/interactive ... e/the-cut-outs.html  
("During the last decade of his life Henri Matisse deployed two simple materials—white paper and gouache—to create works of wide-ranging color and complexity. An unorthodox implement, a pair of scissors, was the tool Matisse used to transform paint and paper into a world of plants, animals, figures, and shapes")
(iv) The book company or publisher Casterman was founded in 1780 by Donat-Joseph Casterman, and is based in Brussel, Belgium, still publishing comics.

(c) "One of Hergé's inspirations for the drawing was a magazine cover that showed the actress Anna May Wong, star of the 1932 film 'Shanghai Express,' posing against a red dragon backdrop. Michael Farr reproduced the image in his 2001 book 'Tintin: The Complete Companion,' which traces the real-life sources of Tintin's adventures. Mr Farr, who met Hergé in 1978, describes him as a 'journalist manqué': 'That's why he created Tintin, who was the dashing foreign correspondent he aspired to be.' "
(i) Shanghai Express (film)
(an American film; Anna May Wong (birth name Wong Liu Tsong 黄柳霜, born (in 1905) and died (in 1961 of heart attack while sleeping) in California, grandparents from 台山 and parents born in US. "By the age of 11, Wong had come up with her stage name of Anna May Wong" Wiki) )  
(ii) "Anna May Wong, star of the 1932 film 'Shanghai Express,' posing against a red dragon backdrop"
(A) The Blue Lotus
("Anna May Wong, the actress who played Hui Fei [惠菲] in Shanghai Express, was the subject of an article in A-Z magazine [nothing in the Web can be found about this former magazine]. Accompanying the article was a picture [reproduced in the Web page] of the young woman [Wong] posing in front of a red dragon emerging from a black background. This photo was undoubtedly the inspiration for the book cover of The Blue Lotus, from the first edition in 1936 to the reprints of 1942")
(B) Admittedly Anna May Wong starred in star of the 1932 film 'Shanghai Express. However, this particular photo of Anna May Wong against a red-dragon backdrop is from the 1931 American film
Daughter of the Dragon
(Princess Ling Moy [no Chinese name]; see photos below text)

A couple of more blacl-and-white photos displayed Wong and a (black) dragon (on white ) can be found by searing images.google.com with (Anna May Wong dragon) -- no quotation marks.
(iii) English dictionary:
* manqué (adj; etymology): "(postpositive [placed after the noun])  unfulfilled due to the vagary of circumstance, some inherent flaw or a constitutional lack"

(d) "It was the first Tintin book drawn in Herge's trademark style, known as la ligne claire or 'clear line' because it uses strong lines all of the same width, with no cross-hatching or shadow-play. * * * 'Up to then Hergé had used dip pens for drawing with ink,' Mr Farr says, 'But with Zhang he learned to use a fine brush [毛笔, which does not create la ligne claire] as well, and he found by doing this that he could grade the effect so it was not quite as sharp and not quite as direct as using a nib.' "
(i) French-Englisg dictionary:
* ligne (noun feminine; from Latin [noun feminine] līnea [1: a linen thread' 2: a line; līnea in turn from Latin noun neuter līnum flax (which, besides its seeds, is used to produce linen]): "line"
* clair (adjective masculine singular; feminine singular: claire): "1: clear (see-through), 2: clear (understandable), 3: (of a color) light (having a light shade, not dark) [eg] bleu clair  light blue"  
(ii) dip pen
("consists of a metal nib * * * Recharging can be done by dipping into an inkwell, but it is also possible to charge the pen with an eyedropper, a syringe, or a brush, which gives more control over the amount of ink applied. Thus, 'dip pens' are not necessarily dipped")

(e) In the last paragraph of the print, the double quotation marks surrounding the book Destination Moon are original.

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 楼主| 发表于 12-31-2020 13:23:13 | 显示全部楼层

-----------------The following text starts where WSJ leaves off
* * * "That's why he created Tintin, who was the dashing foreign correspondent he aspired to be."

Mr Farr considers "The Blue Lotus" a breakthrough for the artist, the book where "everything fell together artistically and as far as narrative was concerned." It was the first Tintin book drawn in Herge's trademark style, known as la ligne claire or "clear line" because it uses strong lines all of the same width, with no cross-hatching or shadow-play.

The catalyst for the development of this style was Hergé's encounter with Zhang Chongren, a Chinese art student in Brussels. Hergé sought him out after being persuaded by a friend that "The Blue Lots" ought to represent a less stereotypical vision of China than was the norm in Europe at that time. Hergé credits Zhang with teaching him about "the wind and the bone 00 that is to say the wind of inspiration and the bone of a fir drawing line."

"Up to then Hergé had used dip pens for drawing with ink," Mr Farr says, "But with Zhang he learned to use a fine brush as well, and he found by doing this that he could grade the effect so it was not quite as sharp and not quite as direct as using a nib."

Hergé's narrative in "The Blue Lotus" also drew on real events in a way that he hadn't done before. Part of the story is based on the Mukden Incident of 1931, in which Japanese soldiers blew up a section of the South Manchuria railway and blamed the act on the Chinese, creating a pretext for Japan's invasion. "This was Hergé going against the grain," Mr Farr says. "When 'The Blue Lotus' was originally serialized in 1934, western Europeans were terribly pro-Japanese." The story prompted an official protest to Belgium's foreign ministry by the Japanese government.

But Hergé's reputation appears to have emerged unscathed. "He's massively popular now all over Asia," Mr Farr says. "It's a huge irony that 'The Blue Lotus' is the best selling Tintin book in Japan, and in China where he's also very popular it's 'Tintin in Tibet.' " Mr Farr credits Hergé with a remarkable ability to anticipate the future: "If you look at the military buildup of Japanese airplanes and battleships in 'The Blue Lotus,' it presages what happened seven years later with Pearl Harbor," he says. "Also, getting Titin onto the moon in 1953 [in the book "Destination Moon"] was pretty impressive. It was 16 years before Armstrong."

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