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Tintin, Hergé and Chang

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An exhibition to discover at the Musée départemental des arts d’Asie in Nice until 30 June 2024

 

The Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgium) is joining forces with the Département des Alpes-Maritimes to unveil an exhibition entitled "Tintin, Hergé and Chang", in two exceptional cultural venues in Nice, both free and open to all. From illustration to comics, advertising, press cartoons and the visual arts, Hergé will be honoured through a superb selection of original drawings and objects, presented for the first time on the Côte d'Azur. In this double exhibition, visitors of the Musée Départemental des Arts Asiatiques in Nice will be able to discover 44 plates and 107 works in addition to the 72 works, including 10 paintings by Hergé and 32 plates, on display at the Espace Culturel Départemental Lympia.

The Adventures of Tintin in Asia: Hergé meets the real Tchang

 

The Adventures of Tintin were first published on 10 January 1929 in Le Petit Vingtième, the weekly youth supplement of a Belgian newspaper. As Hergé was dreaming of a Tintin in the Far East, he met Chang Chong-jen, a young Chinese student who was to introduce him to the culture of his country and help create his masterpiece: The Blue Lotus. When the album was published in 1934, readers witnessed the meeting between Tintin and his Chinese alter ego Chang. It was a meeting that would prove to be one of the most decisive for the young reporter and for Hergé, making him a successful author, cartoonist and scriptwriter. His style took hold, and throughout the 20th century his fame continued to grow in France and around the world. 

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Tintin in the Far East,

Cover illustration for Le Petit Vingtième, 21 March 1934

Fan Se-Yeng

India ink and gouache on drawing paper

© Hergé-Tintinimaginatio 2024

 

Hergé and the real Chang, who lends his name to the comic book character, met in Brussels in 1934. The two young artists shared many common interests, including painting, sculpture and drawing, as Chang was in Europe on a grant to perfect his watercolour technique. Chang spoke perfect French, which he had learnt from a Jesuit in Shanghai, and taught Hergé to paint with brushes and Chinese ink, helping him to overcome stereotypes about China. Their meeting was as intense as it was brief, as Chang had to return to China in a hurry in 1935. It would take Hergé more than 30 years to track down his dear friend and more than 45 years to see him again.

 

Hergé was no longer the same storyteller after their meeting, and he took a different approach to the characters Tintin met on his adventures: the "others" became characters in their own right, and some, like Chang, became friends. Even if his appearances are limited - around fifteen pages in two Tintin albums: The Blue Lotus and Tintin in Tibet - Chang becomes the symbol of Tintin's openness to the world, but also of his creator Hergé. The exhibition at the Musée Départemental des Arts Asiatiques in Nice tells the story of these two friendships, between Hergé and Chang, and between Chang and Tintin.

A friendship captured in The Blue Lotus

 

More than just an adventure in the little reporter's career, The Blue Lotus symbolises the meeting between Hergé and Chang Chong-jen, between Hergé and China. This exhibition shows visitors this important moment in Hergé's life through numerous documents. The Indian ink plates from the album The Blue Lotus illustrate the influence of this meeting on Hergé's artistic practice, while a wall of Le Petit Vingtième issues, related to The Blue Lotus, evokes Hergé's intense activity as a draughtsman and illustrator, and the documentation sheets and sketches allow visitors to revisit the creative process and witness the birth of the characters. Last but not least, the museum also features personal objects belonging to Chang and Hergé, completing the panorama.

The Blue Lotus

Plate 110

Indian ink and gouache on drawing paper

1935

© Hergé-Tintinimaginatio 2024

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In search of Chang: Tintin in Tibet

 

In this album, Hergé indulges in daydreaming and a more personal quest that brings back a ghost from the past: Chang. In the immaculate heights of the Himalayas, the obstacles that Tintin has to overcome are mainly metaphorical. He may be chasing the yeti, but above all he is looking for the friend he met in The Blue Lotus. The last exchange of letters with the real Chang was nearly 30 years ago, and in this album Hergé asks himself about the fate of his lost friend. In a back-and-forth between work and life, the memory of this friendship leads Tintin to brave the highest peaks in the world and leads Hergé to search for his friend in China, finally bringing him back to Brussels in 1981.

 

In Tintin in Tibet, Hergé's pencil convincingly conveys the atmosphere of the cities, the crowds, the women in saris and the contrast between the bustle of New Delhi and the Olympian calm of the Himalayas. Alexis Remi, Hergé's father, was responsible for keeping the documentation up to date until the album was published in November 1959. This important part of Hergé's creative process features prominently in the exhibition, where album plates are displayed alongside sheets of documentation, photographs and specialised publications that the author liked to consult.

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Cover of the first Belgian edition, "imprimerie Casterman".

published in 1960.

© Hergé-Tintinimaginatio 2024

Hergé and the Comic Book

 

Georges Remi, alias Hergé, was born on 22 May 1907 in Etterbeek, Belgium. He showed an early interest and talent for drawing, and as a teenager drew illustrations for boy scout magazines under the pseudonym that was to become famous: Hergé. Hergé's creativity was omnipresent in his life and played an integral part in the events that made up the fabric of a life devoted entirely to comic books. Attracted by other artistic disciplines, he never abandoned the Ninth Art. His productions were partly inspired by other major artistic movements of his time, but this did not prevent Hergé from also taking an interest in ancient civilisations and the so-called primitive arts. In the 1960s, he showed a growing interest in other pictorial trends, from pop art to abstract art and minimalism.

Considered to be the father of the modern comic book, he paved the way for this medium, which has since made its mark on the narrative arts by creating a style all its own: the clear line. His fame and success continued to grow throughout the twentieth century, in Belgium, Europe and the rest of the world.

 

 

 

Find out more:

 

Musée départemental des arts asiatiques

405 Promenade des Anglais, 06200 Nice

Open every day except Tuesday from 10am to 5pm.

 

The exhibition's cultural programme:

https://maa.departement06.fr/activites/activites-a-venir-50332.html

 

Espace culturel départemental Lympia

2 quai entrecasteaux, 06300 Nice

Open Wednesday to Sunday from 10am to 5pm.

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