Robert Lassalvy - Gag cartoonist

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Biography

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

After briefly studying industrial design and attending the School of Graphic Arts of Paris for four years, he devotes himself to drawing humor and begins his career in the roaring postwar Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the early 50’s (along with Sempé, Cavannna, Fred, Fortuné, Jac Faure, Charney, Sim, Stov, Rol ...). It is 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, he creates and stages familiar characters in unusual and funny situations. His work, timeless and universal, reveals a form of mocking spirit underlining the absurd, strange, comic or ridiculous aspects of reality.

Known for his saucy humor and super sexy pin-ups, he publishes his first cartoons in Le Pélerin in 1950 and Le Rire in 1952. That same year, he also begins to work for Ici Paris alongside other distinguished colleagues (Faizant, Peynet, Bellus, Dubout, Gad, Aldebert, Uber, Tetsu ...). For this newspaper, he creates the character of "Caline" as well as his famous "Choutes chéries" published until 1994, year that marks the end of his collaboration with the journal after more than 40 years of success.

Then, other great titles will follow such as Fou Rire (1952), Nous Deux, Samedi Soir, La Presse, Le Hérisson, Marius, France Dimanche (1953), L’équipe, Le Parisien Libéré (1954), France Football (1956), Le Journal du Dimanche, Coeurs Vaillants (1958), France Soir, Midi Libre (1959), Paris Jour (1961), Noir et Blanc (1967), Le progrès (1968), Oui (1972-USA), Paris Match (1976) ...

In 1959 and 1960, Lassalvy also publishes in Pilote, great illustrated magazine founded by François Clauteaux, René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo. From 1955 to 1962, he works for the weekly Bayard and then collaborates between 1963 and 1965 with Record, another monthly magazine aimed at a young public and mainly dedicated 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 60’s, following with a watchful eye the evolution of french society, he begins to portray his contemporaries in comic situations related to sexuality, favouring cartoons with no captions. That’s how he gave birth, after the events of May 68 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) symbolizing 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 1980’s Japan with a cartoon entitled : " Lassalvy, c’est la vie ! " printed daily in a Tokyo newspaper.

In 1973, he also contributed 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 received from the hands of Alain Poher, President of the Senate, the first prize of medical humor at the 6th Annual Press Cartoonist Festival. On this occasion, the Monnaie de Paris engraved a medal to his effigy.

From Ici Paris to Playboy, from Lui to La vie catholique, his cartoons have been published worldwide for over 50 years.

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

 

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