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Sempe: Nothing is Simple

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About the Author

Jean-Jacques Sempe (b. 1932) Expelled from school for bad behaviour, Sempe enjoyed a vast range of jobs including wine broker and supervisor at children's holiday camps. His world renowned illustrations and cartoons are featured on the covers of the New Yorker magazine and amuse the readers of Paris Match and the Figaro Litteraire on a weekly basis.


'Sempe goes about showing us up with great good nature. - his drawing is consistently delightful.' Anthea Bell, Sunday Telegraph, 24 September 2006 'drawings [that] are eloquent in every language.' Quentin Blake, The Week, 23 September 2006 'The world Sempe draws is full of frustrated lovers and pretentious intellectuals, rural worriers and urban ennui. He doesn't point fingers, and he doesn't judge. He simply makes you smile - Sempe's work expresses the quietly observed humour of a man who can't quite believe how lucky he has been. To his surprise, he has found work in the small, sunny spot reserved for very few dessinateurs humorists.' The Glasgow Herald, 14 October 2006 '[Sempe] is, par excellence, the master of the panoramic cartoon. - Captions [ - ] have been brilliantly translated by Anthea Bell. - There are many talented French cartoonists. [ - ] [Sempe] is the most universal - Sempe cartoons are a kind of illustrative haiku. In such small space he conveys a great amount of meaning. - an infinite delight in the complexity and ambivalence - and the humour - of the everyday and the ordinary.' The Independent, 21 October 2006 '[Sempe] started life as a journeyman cartoonist, drawing single gags. From there he has gradually broadened out and blossomed, acquiring colour and boldness and breadth, until it is hard to call him anything but an artist. - you can't really lose with Sempe.' Miles Kington, The Spectator, 16 December 2006

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