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Hergé: who owns the portrait by Andy Warhol, and where is it?

#1 · Posted: 5 Jan 2006 19:01
At the Tintin exhibition in Greenwich, London, there was a portrait of Hergé by the famous pop artist Andy Warhol. Does anyone know anything about it, as there is nothing about it in the guide book?
#2 · Posted: 5 Jan 2006 21:03
midnightblueowl... you're overloading my head with Tintin! (which isn't all together unpleasant...)

There's an amusing retelling of this episode in Bocquet & Stanislas's graphic biography The Adventures of Hergé - Hergé meeting with Warhol - it appears in Drawn & Quarterly 4 (2001).
#3 · Posted: 18 May 2008 08:51
Even having read the larger, definitive Michael Farr guides to Tintin and Hergé, I don't recall ever coming across details of Warhol's Hergé silk prints besides their existence.
Are they privately owned or owned by a certain gallery somewhere?
Are there prints available, as is the case with so much of Warhol's work?

Many thanks!
#4 · Posted: 18 May 2008 09:29
I think that there are three prints of the piece, and at least two of them are the property of the Studio.
There is some story I can't quite remember the details of, about there being a problem with paying for them?
A portrait was commissioned for Hergé, and it was sent and paid for...
Then another one turned up, and that was paid for too, although it was both expensive and a bit of a surprise. Then came a third one, unexpectedly, and the Studios decided they had to call a halt to it, otherwise they might never have stopped, and I think that one stayed elsewhere and no more were made...
One was displayed at the Greenwich Maritime Museum during the Tintin at Sea exhibition - not terribly naval, but nice to see!

I'm slightly confused by the bit in your question about are there prints available, as they are all prints to begin with - I take it you mean like a poster or post-card? If so, I don't believe so.
Of course you may be a well-heeled art-lover, keen to add yet another Warhol original to your collection...! ;-)
#5 · Posted: 18 May 2008 19:00
Thanks for that response.
Yes, sorry I meant "print" in the sense of a copy/poster. That's such a pity, I'd love to have my own copy of it, as I am sure many others would too. The Studio may well do well out of releasing posters of it. That said, there may well be copyright complications..?
Anyway, I hope one day I'll be able to hang a poster of one on my wall!
#6 · Posted: 11 May 2022 14:16
Further to my comments above (made quite some time ago now!), this video clip of Hergé and Warhol meeting in Brussels, to be found on the RTBF (Belgian state broadcaster) website, offers visual evidence to the effect that there are at least four, rather than three, prints in the edition.

Update: Yes, having found other sources for the information, it's definitely four pictures in the series.
Perhaps more importantly, I should mention here that the original photograph used by Warhol for the portrait was by Jean-Pol Stercq, who worked for Le Lombard, and who took it upon himself, as part of a personal project, to get portraits of the artists who worked on Tintin magazine.

To be fair to Warhol, he may have used the picture in good faith, the photo being selected by Hergé, but however the decison was made, or whoever was responsible, according to an article by Stéphane Steeman, nobody asked Stercq, who was not compensated in any way.

However, after thirty years, Stercq reestablished his rights in the picture, and now gets a credit and royalty when any of the Hergé series of portraits is reproduced.

I think that this also might call into question the story I mentioned above, that Hergé was surprised to keep recieveing pictures, and that the worry was that Warhol would keep sending them, might have to be relegated to the ranks of "a good yarn, but not very likely", as the indication is that Warhol exhibited the four pictures at Gallery D in Brussels, and that Hergé purchased three for the sum of BF2,000,000. The fourth was bought by a private individual.

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