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Born in Bordeaux, France in 1932,
Jean-Jacques Sempé is one of the truly great illustrators,
especially of bicycles, bicyclists, bicycle shops and cycling.
Here are a few of his wonderful drawings and a bit more about his life.

Click to see Sempé’s beautiful New Yorker cover bicycle shop

Jean-Jacques Sempé then . . .
(1962; click to enlarge)

. . . and today

About Sempé: Phaidon Press Limited, in its 24 Postcard Illustrations stationery from Sempé’s Simple question d'equilibre (A Question of Balance), 1977, Editions Denoël, writes:

Jean-Jacques Sempé (b. 1932) is one of the most successful illustrators in the world. His sharply observed and beautifully drawn cartoons have delighted readers in France and beyond for over forty years. Expelled from school for bad behavior, Sempé took application exams for jobs at the French Post Office, a bank and the French Railways, and failed them all. As a result he became a traveling toothpaste salesman and then joined the army. Having served periods of detention for drawing instead of keeping watch, he eventually won an art prize in 1952 given to encourage young amateur artists to turn professional. Most famous in the English-speaking world for his instantly recognizable New Yorker covers, Sempé’s illustration and cartoons are enjoyed by the readers of Paris Match on a weekly basis. Now, four volumes of his work are available in English for the first time, together with a new range of stationery products.

The cover illustrations from Sempé’s
A Question of Balance stationery postcard set
(four cards from this set are shown below)


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