Sunday, May 27, 2012

Searle art for sale... and Searle remembered

Info by JMB  and Chris Beetles (London)

Some original sport drawings by Searle for sale on Ebay:

And all Searle fans should consult the Chris Beatles website:

England’s Greatest Cartoonist

22 May – 9 June 2012
Monday to Saturday, 10am–5:30pm

At Chris Beetles Gallery, 8 & 10 Ryder Street, London SW1Y 6QB

Champagne Private View

Tuesday, 22 May, 6–8pm

All works are viewable online at

Following the recent sad death of Ronald Searle, the Chris Beetles Gallery is hosting an exhibition to celebrate the abundant talents of this very special man.

Paying tribute to the greatest cartoonist of the 20th century, the exhibition of over 400 works, enhanced by new research and narrative within the accompanying catalogue, explores the full range of Ronald Searle’s formidable career – from the clandestine drawings he produced as an inmate of the notorious Japanese Prisoner of War camp, Changi Gaol, to his later book and magazine illustrations.

His most famous creations and best-loved characters – St Trinian’s, Molesworth and Lemon Hart – reveal his unrivalled wit and fluent interpretative line.

His lesser known, but equally incisive visual reportage on political, artistic and literary issues of the day are explored and, alongside drawings, sketches, and early edition books, are significant groups of unpublished letters providing new biographical insights into the life and loves of this remarkable man, all of which will be on display and available to buy.

The accompanying catalogue, of over 200 pages, is fully illustrated and contains newly researched essays and notes. The catalogue is available from the gallery at £20 (+ p&p, £3 UK, £6 Europe, £10 Rest of the World).

All images are viewable on our website, but we do hope you can make a visit to the gallery to see the rich and varied array of Ronald Searle’s work on display.

Best wishes


Ronald Searle the Great (Part 7) - Flavours and vapours

Searle appreciated good wines and particularly champagne; but for ages he was revolted by the pretentious wine-jargon of some so-called experts and critics. Having scrupulously collected these bombastic sentences, read in newspapers, magazines and direct-mail publicity, Searle chose fifty of these most frequent gibberishes and mocked each one by a cartoon deriding it. They were gathered in The Illustrated Winespeak: Ronald Searle's Wicked World of Winetasting, a book published by Souvenir Press in London in 1983. In his foreword, Searle praises the rare persons able to honestly and clearly express their tasting sensations, and points out “that grotesque international band of snobbish inarticulate sponges, who are incapable of thinking beyond their incestuous little circles”.

The book had sold nearly 30,000 copies on the British market in its first two months. Soon after, it was translated into French and into German.

In 1984, titled Parler en vin. [French pun with “Speaking in vain”]: Le langage du vin illustré, it was published by Albin Michel; as Winespeak it was published by Harper & Row in New York, and as Ronald Searles Illustrierte Weinsprache was published by Gerstenberg in Germany.

In 1985, the book was translated into Dutch and, titled De geillustreerde Wijnspraak, it was published by Gottmer in Haarlem. In 1986, it was translated into Italian and Danish: Parladivino was published by Edagricole in Bologna, and Hvad siger etiketten? was published by Souvenir Press in Copenhagen.

After such a big success, Searle launches a new book and invites vintners and wine drinkers to experience the mysteries of wine and its production. These hilarious cartoons are dedicated to the world's wine odd ceremonies, and to the many improbable ways to open a bottle of wine. Something in the Cellar: Ronald Searle’s Wonderful World of Wine was published by Souvenir Press in London in 1986. Translated into French and titled Le monde merveilleux du vin de Ronald Searle, it was published by Albin Michel in Paris in the same year.

Most of this book’s pages in color were designed for the promotion of John Goelet’s vineyards Clos du Val in Napa Valley – California, and Taltarni Vineyards in Moonambel – Australia; the others were new and never published in a book form.

In 1988, Something in the Cellar: Ronald Searle’s Wonderful World of Wine was published by Ten Speed Press in Berkeley California; and, as Wundervolle Welt des Weins, published by Zinnober Verlag in Hamburg. Translated into Italian and titled Scendiamo in Cantina, it was published by Rizzoli in Milan in 1989.

In the past, the vineyard Vignelaure (appellation Côteaux d'Aix-en-Provence) used to set a second wine-label at the back side of its bottles of red Château Vignelaure, which was different every year. The 1983 label was illustrated by Ronald Searle who drew his inspiration from a local story alleging a retired Roman legionary has planted a first vine in this place.

Robert Parker, the renowned American wine-critic describes Vignelaure as: "one of the showpiece properties not only of Provence, but of France". The red Château Vignelaure is the grand wine of the estate, made from a selection of the finest hand-picked grapes from old, low-yielding vines: Cabernet Sauvignon (70%), Syrah (25%), Grenache (5%); ageing in small oak barrels for 18 months and then ageing in bottle for at least 2 years before releasing it.

In 1996 and 1998, thanks to private financial supports, the Wilhelm Busch Museum (Hanover) acquired from Searle an important number of his cartoons, his collection of historical caricatures and his library of works dealing with the history and theory of caricature. They were exhibited in 2001 and a catalogue was published by Hirmer Verlag in Munich. In fact there was a second catalogue in a slipcase titled Searle & Searle, as Monica Searle also exhibited there the necklaces she styled.

The cartoon “Switzerland”, from Something in the Cellar: Ronald Searle’s Wonderful World of Wine, features in the front face of this the slipcase. At right, the cartoon “SEITA mon ami” about nicotine addiction was done in 1983.

This addiction is the very matter of The Addict: A Terrible Tale which was published by Dobson in London in 1971; and in the USA by Stephen Greene in Brattleboro in the same year.

This no text story shows in 18 drawings, the long and hard walk of an old woman looking for matches and bringing them for lighting the cigarette of...

… You cannot count on me to reveal who’s that smoker, because a mention on the back cover specifies: “The Addict’s moment of truth has been tactfully concealed from casual gaze by sealing the last two pages”. Suspense, suspense!

At the end of this penultimate part of our series, please relax in the company of a St-Trinian’s girl and Ronald Searle smoking around 1950.

article by JMB

For champagne mention, please see:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ross Thomson

"No books, no glory?"... Is it true that cartoonists who publish one, two or dozens of cartoons books are great cartoonists? Or, are cartoonists who don't have a publication less good cartoonists? My answer is no!

Ross Thomson - april 2012 - ECC
When I asked Ross Thomson if he had ever published a catalogue with his cartoons, the answer was negative. I was a bit disappointed. Watching the cartoons of Ross is pure fun, and that's not only my opinion. Those cartoons deserve a cartoon book... But finding a publisher for a cartoon book, isn't easy, so told me Ross. 

Ross has no own books, but on the other hand, the cartoons of Ross are published in dozens of catalogues all over the world. Ross also won many cartoon prizes. That's of course a compliment for an excellent cartoonist.

There are Ross cartoons in all those catalogues... and
in many many  more 

I did a bit of research, and I searched for Ross cartoons in the catalogues of the Knokke Heist cartoon festival, one of the world's most prestigious cartoon contests. I found cartoons of Ross in 15 of 21 catalogues, since 1990, the first year I found a Ross cartoon. In the last 10 years, only the 2009 catalogue has no Ross cartoon.

Here are some Ross cartoons I found in Knokke-Heist catalogues. Notice the evolution in the work.





 I hope some day all those magnificent cartoons will appear together in one Ross catalogue... who knows.

click and enjoy the detail of this Ross cartoon

ECC - April 2012

ECC - April 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Cost Art - Constantin Sunnerberg

A few years ago, in 2009, we asked cartoonists to make a Bruce Bairnsfather tribute cartoon based on the famous 'Better Ole' cartooon.  One of the works I received was a cartoon by Cost (Constantin Sunnerberg). Unfortunately the cartoon wasn't selected by our British friends  for publication in The  Best of Fragments From France but to me, it was one of the best cartoons received and I'm happy to present this cartoon here again.
I found many cartoons of Cost published in the yearly Press Cartoon Belgium catalogues , (Cost won several times), but what I didn't knew until a few weeks ago, was that there is an exhibition catalogue (Seed Factory, Brussels, 2006) with cartoons and work of the artist: Cost'Art. You can browse this catalogue online.

Cost  - Constantin Sunnerberg (ECC Kruishoutem, April 2012)
Enjoy some cartoons out a this catalogue:

2001 - published in "Le Soir"  (could be published in 2012...)

Cost has since found the way to participate in cartoon contests: with success. He regularly wins prizes and that doesn't surpize me...

Learn more:
Biography and Cost cartoons on Press Cartoon Belgium
Cost'Art online catalogue (recommended!)