Everything Gourmet

Asterix Ascending

Followed by a Gourmet Gazette Slide Show

A procession of Asterixes. Albert UDERZO, Astérix sous toutes ses formes ©DR. Photo Courtesy Musée Maillol. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Paris, France — Festive, copious food and drink-filled banquets, colorful characters, a potion maker and a sculptor of menhirs. He brought the ancient world of the Gauls gloriously alive and accessible to our world. The history was all there, the characters and the story line, too. Albert Uderzo was one of the greatest comic book artists of all-time, a master of what is known as the 9th Art, which basically refers to French and Belgian comics. As the co-creator and illustrator of the Asterix series with René Goscinny, whom he met in 1951, he captured the world of Asterix, the Gaul and his cohorts from the hugely huge Obelix and his tiny dog Dogmatix and the potion-dispensing Druid magician Getafix. Asterix was first serialized in the French cult magazine Pilote and the first story was published in 1961. After René Goscinny’s death in 1977 Uderzo continued to write and illustrate the books on his own until 2009 when Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad took over. The Adventures of Asterix have been translated into 87 languages. While 39 albums have been published thus far.

Portrait of Albert Uderzo with Asterix in the background. Albert Uderzo – Uderzo-Goscinny ©Editions Albert-René 2021. Photo Courtesy Musée Maillol. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

A fascinating exhibition has been playing out in Paris taking a look at the long career of Uderzo including glimpses into his non-Asterix works at the Musée Maillol, entitled Uderzo, Like a Magic Potion. So if you can’t be in Paris right now or can’t make it to the show, The Gourmet Gazette brings the show to you. More than 300 plates, drawings, covers along with dozens of documents, the vast majority of which have never left Uderzo’s office, have been brought together for this instructive and fun show that was curated by his daughter, Sylvie Udzero with the exhibition coinciding with the first anniversary of his death on March 24th, 2020 at the age of 92.

At the Uderzo, Like a Magic Potion exhibition. Here Obelix sculpts a menhir while Asterix looks on, albums of the Adventures of Astrix and a model of a village in ancient Gaul. Exposition Uderzo, comme une potion magique – Musée Maillol ©Jean Nichola (205). Photo Courtesy Musée Maillol. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

« In opening the boxes of Albert’s drawings we wanted above all to offer the visitors the possibility of sharing a privileged moment with him. Because he told us all the time that he owed everything to his public, » explained Sylvie Uderzo.

Asterix blasts off into space on board the satellite that was named for him. The Asterix was the first French satellite launched in 1965 and still in orbit today. Albert UDERZO, Gouache sur papier réalisée à l’occasion du lancement du 1er satellite français Astérix en 1965 ©DR. Photo Courtesy Musée Maillol. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

Alberto Uderzo was born in France in 1927 to Italian immigrants, color blind and with 12 fingers, not exactly the ideal characteristics for a future illustrator. But illustrator he became, one of the best known in the world. He would find his road, his path and his own magic potion, working morning, noon and night at his drawing table. His encounter with Goscinny on the Champs-Elysées would translate into— most famously — the Adventures of Asterix, born in 1959 which has bequeathed some 1,1450 plates, many of which can be seen at the show, which also explores his collaboration with the print press, with Pilote and with Goscinny on Oomph-Pah, the American Indian, a series which preceded Asterix.

At the Uderzo, Like a Magic Potion exhibition.Here Obelisk juxtaposed with the sculpted women of Aristide Maillol. Exposition Uderzo, comme une potion magique – Musée Maillol ©Jean Nichola (205). Photo Courtesy Musée Maillol. Handout via The Gourmet Gazette

The Musée Maillol houses the works of the French artist and sculptor Aristide Maillol known for his oversized sculptures of women. A poignant view in the show is some of his statues juxtaposed with a statue of the enormous Obelix, the sculptor of menhirs and Asterix’s best friend, immortalized on screen by the great French actor Raymond Depardieu. The exhibition was organized in collaboration with the Agence Artcurial Culture under the direction of Anne de Turenne. Founded in 2002, Artcurial is one of the world’s leading multidisciplinary auction houses.
The exhibition is showing until October 31st
©Trish Valicenti for The Gourmet Gazette

A Gourmet Gazette Slide Show

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