Cartoonist Jean-Jacques Simbi dies at the age of 89

His wife said Thursday that famous designer Jean-Jacques Sempy, one of the founders of Petit Nicholas, has passed away at the age of 89.

Little Nicolas lost his second father. Designer Jean-Jacques Simbi, known worldwide for his minimalist drawings with subtle and offbeat sense of humor, has died at the age of 89. Born in 1932, he was a distinguished witness to the twentieth century, drawing its developments and flaws with an often disturbing look.

“Comedian Jean-Jacques Sembe passed away peacefully on the evening of (Thursday), August 11 (2022), at his 89th year, in his holiday home, surrounded by his wife and close friends,” said biographer and friend Marc Lecarpentier. In a statement to AFP,

Distinguished witness from the twentieth century

Becoming a painter by chance, this child of Gironde, born in a poor environment, dreams of a career in music, before falling in love with drawing as a teenager. “It was easier to find a pencil and paper than to find a piano…,” he will say the scientist In 2018. Leaving school at the age of 14, after the war he made his way into the world of journalistic cartoonists.

His meeting with Goscinny in the 1950s changed his life. The painter and screenwriter established a deep friendship that led them to form a deep friendship, on March 29, 1959, in Southwest SundayAnd the Little NicholasKhaled’s work pays tribute to the imagined French society.

Drawing of Nicolas Le Petit Playing Sports (2014)
Drawing of Little Nicolas playing sports (2014) © IMAV editions / Goscinny – Sempé

Sempé was inspired by his son to name his hero, while Goscinny invented the first names of his friends Geoffroy, Eudes, Rufus, Agnan, and Clotaire. The designer, a troubled student in his youth, also gives him his memories of fights and summer camps and his passion for sports and football in particular. global success, Little Nicholas It sells five million copies, but the adventure ends after the fifth collection, Joachim is in troublewas published in 1964.

From Raul Taborin to The New Yorker

At this time Sempé began publishing individual works. He signs several albums that resemble stories such as Marceline Caillou (1969), The Social Rise of Mr. Lambert (1975) and Raoul Taborin (1995). He has produced about thirty books, the last of which is, stay awakereleased in 2020.

the details
Detail of “Fresh Poisoning” by Jean-Jacques Simbe on the cover of The New Yorker on August 21, 2006. © Jean-Jacques Simbe

Sempé collaborates with many prestigious magazines such as Paris MatchAnd the The new observer And the New Yorkerof which he has signed a hundred “of” since 1978. “The New Yorker was an unimaginable dream, like entering the Duke Ellington Orchestra,” he confided to Globalism. “My first cover was of a guy who was reluctant to fly. I was lucky because it was so successful.”

Considered one of the greatest designers, Sempé continued to paint until his last breath. He was considered by younger generations of designers as a model, whom he especially adored Catherine Morris and Joan Zero. The latter has also taken over from him in Paris Match.

A seemingly rude man, Simbi was like his handwriting: simple and delicate. Anxious and shy, rarely indulging in the trust game, he told his friend Marc Lecarpentier in a 2011 documentary: “I panic as soon as he asks me a question. I’m afraid of making a mistake. I’m afraid of not telling the truth (…) because there are things I don’t want to say” . Please draw it.

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