Astérix in Britain, the life and work of René Goscinny, Jewish Museum, May 2018

e8b3e76b-92d0-408e-9adf-8f8d646022c3For once my long suffering husband was more than happy to be dragged round a museum with his museum blogging wife to see ‘Astérix in Britain – the life and work of René. He grew up on a diet of Asterix, a series of French comics, translated into English in 1969. I even managed to dig out his much loved copy of ‘The Mansions of the Gods’ whilst mid-way through this blog.

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A childhood favourite

The Jewish Museum are hosting a delightful exhibition on René Goscinny, the Jewish co-creator of the indomitable Gaul. To be honest I couldn’t keep my husband away!

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A warm welcome from Jewish Museum Chief Executive Abigail Morris

Based in Camden only about 10 minutes from the tube station, the Jewish Museum is a gem, their exhibitions are consistently surprising and interesting as well as diverse from pottery to music.

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Visually striking.

“Asterix in Britain” is visually striking, like stepping into a comic, the exhibition has been heavily adapted from an original exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris. Goscinny peers out at us from baby photos and video clips, he has an irrepressible cheekiness that exudes good humour and a comic zest for life that puts a smile on your face.

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Beresniak Ex-libris (bookplate) Paris, 1930s. René’s grandfather Abraham Lazare and his uncle Léon founded the printing works Beresniak & Sons in Paris in 1912.

His itinerant lifestyle is delved into, born in Paris to a family of Jewish immigrants from Poland in 1926, a childhood in Argentina leading to work in New York and Europe all played a part in influencing his work.

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René Goscinny – Letter to The New Yorker magazine in 1948.

Goscinny struggled to get work as an illustrator. I love his letter to the New Yorker chasing illustrations he had sent them – Would they be used? For 18 months he struggled to get work, it is an important message – when we see success we rarely see the struggles that plagued the journey to that point.

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Obelix – Asterix’s best friend.

The exhibition is an inspiration to illustrators young and old who dream of a successful career. It is wonderful to see Goscinny’s talent as a 17/18 year old come to full fruition with Asterix via a creative partnership alongside Albert Uderzo, who he met in 1951.

There is a great events programme to supplement the exhibition run, including a comic book late on the 30 August. Also, I am really proud to see a free Curious Explorers morning for autistic children and their families on the 30th May when there are lots of creative activities to take part in, inspired by Goscinny’s work.

 

If you visit in the next few months I also highly recommend the Elsbeth Juda photographic exhibition –  ‘Grit and Glamour’ running till 1st July. Juda a Jewish émigré brought a modernist artistic vision to Britain from Germany. There are fab shots of Churchill and his portrait painter Graham Sutherland, as well as a great shot of the fashion photographer Norman Parkinson.

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‘Asterix in Britain, the life and work of René Goscinny’ is on at the Jewish Museum London from 10th May – 30 September 2018, for opening times, ticket prices and events please see the website http://www.jewishmuseum.org.uk/asterix

Elsbeth Juda, Grit and Glamour, is on from 1 March – 1 July 2018.

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