Robert Lassalvy - Gag cartoonist

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Biography

Robert Lassalvy (1932-2001) is a French cartoonist born in Cournonterral, Hérault.

After briefly studying industrial design and attending the School of Graphic Arts of Paris for four years, he dedicates himself to humorous drawing. He begins his career in the early 1950s, in the roaring postwar of Saint-Germain-des-Prés (along with Sempé, Cavannna, Fred, Fortuné, Jac Faure, Charney, Sim, Stov, Rol ...). It’s in the burgeoning world of the Latin Quarter that he finds a fertile ground to externalize his humor and fantasy.

Keen observer of everyday life and the world around him, Lassalvy stages familiar characters in unusual and comical situations. Thanks to his sparkling imagination and artistic mastery, he caricatures with brio and mischievousness the small flaws and quirks of ordinary people, thus turning them into real popular heroes. His timeless and universal cartoons reveal a form of mocking spirit underlining the absurd, strange, comic or ridiculous aspects of reality.

Although he has been known for his saucy humor and sexy pin-up girls, his first cartoons are published in the Catholic magazine Le Pélerin in 1950 and then Le Rire in 1952. That same year also begins his collaboration with the newspaper Ici Paris (alongside Faizant, Peynet, Bellus, Uber, Dubout, Gad, Aldebert, Tetsu ...) for which he creates the character of "Caline" as well as his famous "Choutes chéries" published until 1994, year that will mark the end of his relationship with the journal after more than 40 years of success.

Then, other great titles will follow such as Nous Deux, La Presse, Le Hérisson, Marius, France Dimanche, L’équipe, Le Parisien Libéré, France Football, Le Journal du Dimanche, Coeurs Vaillants, France Soir, Midi Libre, Paris Jour, Noir et Blanc, Le progrès, Paris Match ...

In 1959 and 1960, Lassalvy’s cartoons are published in Pilote, great illustrated journal founded by François Clauteaux, René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. From 1955 to 1965, he collaborates with the weekly Bayard and the monthly Record, two other illustrated magazines aimed at a young public and dedicated mainly to the ninth art. Lastly, in 1966, Marcel Dassault who noticed his cartoons in Ici Paris asks him to work for Jours de France where Kiraz and others already contribute to this popular women’s magazine.

In the late 1960s, following with a watchful eye the evolution of French society, Lassalvy begins to portray his contemporaries in comic situations related to sexuality by privileging situation-based gags in cartoons with no captions. That’s how he gave birth, after the events of May 1968 and a sexual revolution later, to his famous buxom maids and other creatures with generous curves immortalized in two of the most renowned charm magazines. His collaboration with Lui (1964-1989) and Playboy (1977-1996) symbolize the most emblematic period of his work.

Published in the United States by Playboy Press in the magazine Oui, as well as in Brazil in the humorous monthly Status Humor, this tireless chronicler also met a large success in 1980s Japan with a cartoon entitled : " Lassalvy, c’est la vie ! " printed daily in a Tokyo newspaper.

In 1973, he also contributes with Mose, Roger Sam and Rik Cursat to the illustration of a booklet called "Conorama by San-Antonio" based on the novel "Les con" by Frederic Dard. A few years later, the French novelist writes to him : "Dear Lassalvy, every time I see your work, I feel as if I was looking at mine in a mirror. We will have to meet someday. I love you and kiss you".

Finally, in 1983, he receives from Alain Poher, President of the Senate, the first prize of medical humor at the 6th Annual Press Cartoonists Festival.

From Ici Paris to Playboy, from Lui to La vie catholique, his cartoons have been published in the French and foreign press for over 50 years.

Considered as one of the great French cartoonists of his generation, he is appointed to the rank of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters on November 30th, 1999.

 

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