"When I was a kid, heckling was my only distraction". Sempé was born on 17 August 1932 in Bordeaux. Expelled from school for indiscipline, he started working: handyman for a wine broker, holiday...Show more
"When I was a kid, heckling was my only distraction". Sempé was born on 17 August 1932 in Bordeaux. Expelled from school for indiscipline, he started working: handyman for a wine broker, holiday camp instructor, office boy... At the age of 18, he worked in newsrooms and sold his first drawing to Sud-Ouest in 1951. His meeting with Goscinny coincided with the beginning of his dazzling career as a "press cartoonist". Some forty albums of drawings, since "Rien n'est simple" in 1962, marvelously translate his tenderly ironic vision of our shortcomings, masterpieces of humour. Sempé is one of the few French cartoonists to illustrate the covers of the very prestigious The New Yorker, and makes thousands of readers smile in Paris Match. In 1992, Martine Gossieaux opened a gallery dedicated to her passion since childhood: timeless and elegant humourous drawings. Every year she exhibits original drawings by Sempé at 56 rue de l'Université in Paris and publishes engravings, original prints and books. She regularly organizes large-scale exhibitions devoted to him throughout the world, in museums and cultural venues. In 2018, the Fonds de Dotation Jean-Jacques Sempé was created by the artist to disseminate and promote his work. The Sempé's Collection published by Image Republic in collaboration with the Martine Gossieaux Gallery, is exclusive, the drawings are available in 30x40 cm and 40x50 cm mounted prints, puzzles, notebooks and postcards. Photo © Jean-Paul Guilloteau / EXPRESS-REA Read less
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Since 1978 Sempé has designed 110 covers for the famous New York magazine. On the latest one, on October 15, 2018, he offers us a tasty grouped reading that he maliciously offers us. We can't help but wonder which book has attracted all these children, with their colourful faces literally interwoven into each other. The whole cosmopolitan spirit of New York in one drawing.

Sempé drew 101 covers of The New Yorker. For the cover of November 14, 2011, he is back on one of his favourite subjects: musicians and their instruments. In a music teacher's rehearsal room, between a tiny girl and her tiny violin, surrounded by huge double basses that literally encircle her.

Sempé and the cats, it's a long drawn-out story. For this cover of August 8, 2005, it is no longer about a house cat, gracefully inscribed in the decoration of a neat interior, but rather about a hunter on the lookout, crossing the night of a flowered garden. Balanced on a traditional wooden railing, his eye shining under the moon, his shadow follows him at wolf's pace. 

Sempé, dance and childhood, it's a long story of love and drawings. On this October 24, 2005 cover, he captures once again better than anyone else those moments of suspension or momentum that link one to the other. In the shadow of a statue of a dancer, the young ballerina sits, between apprehension and dream, waiting to join the Steinwey and its scores. 

As a greeting to the sun on Sempé’s August 11, 1997 New Yorker cover. The simplicity of the infinite landscape, the gradations of the dawn sky, the thin strips of foam and the pastel yellow sand beach, make the little gymnast in red shorts who stands on his head, a real ray of sunshine. 

Autumn String Quartet on the October 20, 1980 cover of The New Yorker by Sempé. The orange of the leaves littering the ground and the golden light of the Indian summer that surrounds the musicians, give relief to the small coloured spots on their clothes where the memory of summer can still be read. While the knitwear in progress placed on the tables announce the coming arrival of winter...

The cat is one of Sempé's favorite animals, and as such, it appears on more than one cover of The New Yorker. On the December 8, 1980 cover, he demonstrates that a cat always chooses the best place to settle, not always the easiest to get to, but the one that best enhances it, like a sculpture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET).

Celebrating American Independence Day on the cover of July 6, 1987. True to his humour and childhood painting, Sempé sketches the missteps of a balloon release. Or how a single red balloon that has remained stowed on the ground and manages to attract far more attention than the hundred or so that dot the sky. 

The gathering around a camp fire is depicted on the cover of the New Yorker of August 11, 2008, where Sempé draws future memories for these children sitting under the stars. Summer camps by the river, shooting stars, from little Nicolas to Marcelin Caillou, Sempé has given his most beautiful pages to the world of childhood.

Sempé's subtle art hits the bull's eye on this graphic cover of The New Yorker July 20, 2015. Four ladies in pastel hats enjoy an ice cream in the sun, at the intersection of four cleverly pruned trees. Since 1978 Sempé has designed more than 109 covers for the famous New Yorker magazine. 

Mixing styles and crossing worlds in this drawing by Sempé, for the cover of The New Yorker on May 21, 2007. A great mathematician from Columbia or Princeton, New Jersey, may have found the formula to cook the perfect boiled egg. Since 2012 the MOMATH, Museum of Mathematics on 26th Street in New York City has been open. 

Let's dream jazz with Sempé, on this drawing of February 5, 1996 on the cover of The New Yorker. For the artist, who is a music-loving artist, a sparkling tenor saxophone suspends the incessant rhythm of the city that never sleeps, with its yellow taxis and the crowd filling its sidewalks, to light up the dream of a teenage music-lover with a cap. "Jazz and comedy drawing have something in common in suggesting things," says Sempé.

Sprint of a breakaway on the Brooklyn Bridge, December 4, 2000, by Sempé for the New Yorker. This bridge was inaugurated in 1883! Many Hollywood disaster movies have tried to destroy it, from Godzilla to Independence Day, Armageddon, Deep Impact, I am a Legend or the Day After... but with its two levels, one for cars and one for pedestrians and bicycles, it is still the most beautiful way to cross the East River at sunset.

A perfume of extravagance and  humour emblematic of Sempé's drawings on this cover of February 6, 2006. The most French of the New Yorker's cartoonists recomposes the American banner by combining rows of skillfully arranged red tulips and a teeming bouquet of blue tulips, for a subtle declaration of love. 

The New Yorker of July 12, 1999 by Sempé. The author of the mythical Marcellin Caillou and Raoul Taburin made cycling one of his favourite topics. He sometimes includes himself on a bicycle in his drawings. For Sempé "France is the bicycle" he even drew one on a coin for the Monnaie de Paris: Fraternité 2014. 

On the cover of The New Yorker of February 1, 1988, Sempé unveils the back of the set of a great French restaurant in Manhattan. The calm of the waiter who is about to enter the room does not suggest the energy of the chefs and the kitchen clerks who assist them. French gastronomy at work. 

Classical dance and ballet are among Sempé's recurring themes. On this March 23, 1987 cover, a young ballerina presents her steps under the keen eye of her teacher. With her arm raised, she looks like a statue of liberty, while the shadows of her classmates draw a reflection close to that of the Skyline in the Hudson River. 

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Indian girl in the wings for the entrance of the musicians of the Philharmonic Orchestra under Sempé's eye for the New Yorker of January 28, 1985. The black tails of the musicians' tails stand out against the covers of their instruments as they watch them pass by. The snare drum player chooses his sticks. Music is a favourite subject in Sempé's work. 

Sempé and music is a long love story that goes from Jazz to Debussy and his Clair de Lune, via Trenet, Ravel, Gershwin and Michel Legrand. On this cover of March 12 th 1984, he offers us a little journey of modesty in the philharmonic orchestra, from the conductor to the harpist, to the snare drum player all moved by this honour. 

For Valentine's Day 1983, Sempé offers us a tasty love triangle. On the heart-shaped cover of February 14, a modest king of hearts in office attire takes advantage of the fact that his queen's back is turned to her chessboard to sneakily declare her flame to a lush, voluble green plant. 

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Since 1978, Sempé has designed 101 covers of The New Yorker. For the 20th anniversary of this collaboration, on May 18th, 1998, he landed in Central Park. A young New Yorker couple lying down enjoy the coolness on the lawn of the "Great Lawn". The curve of the trees and the expanse of grass contrast with the saturated verticals of the skyscrapers that surround this place of mythical gatherings and concerts: Simon and Garfunkel, Elton John, Diana Ross and even John Paul II in 1995.