Jean Giraud, "Moebius" (1938 - 2012)
Oh damn. It seems that one of my favorite artists, Jean Giraud also known as Moebius, died today. He was an illustrator, painter, author and comics artist who could depict the realistic and the fantastic with equal skill. He was a superlative draftsman and possessed an incredible and psychedelic color sense. I'm not so selfish as to mourn works lost by his passing. He was prolific enough that there's much I haven't seen yet and I can't imagine ever getting tired of the books of his I already have. What little I've been able to find online says he had had cancer for a while. I am glad the man's suffering is over.
By an odd coincidence, last night I went to see Les Maîtres du Temps (Time Masters) at a little movie theater in my neighborhood. The animated film was designed and co-written by Moebius.
He was also the catalyst that got my mother and I to Paris last year. I had been wanting to revisit Europe and England for some time, but somehow never got around to it. Certainly travel needs no reason, but I was so wrapped up in day to day life that I couldn't plan ahead even a few weeks and arrange a trip. Then I learned that there was going to be a huge Giraud career retrospective at the Cartier Foundation and that was all I needed; I couldn't imagine the show would never come to the States. I invited my mother, as I had been telling her for years she should see Paris before she died and now here was the perfect opportunity. I always associate grad school with being the unlikely catalyst that got my father to see Ireland. I applied for and received a British working permit upon graduation and while living in London my parents came to visit and traveled to Ireland. Otherwise I don't think my father would have seen the homeland before he died. My memory of the Moebius exhibit is linked to how much my mother enjoyed Paris.
The Cartier Foundation is a large industrial space, made of glass and metal and mainly consisting of large rooms on two floors. On the ground floor, his artwork was arranged in glass displays that curved and swerved around the inside of the rectangular box that is the museum. You took a little stroll through decades of the man's work.
The downstairs area was devoted to his paintings and some of his more surreal or visionary work.
Despite how formidable he looks here, by all accounts he was very warm and affable, qualities seen in his last series Inside Moebius. The artwork is fast and sketchy and the story is playful and light. Not a bad way to bow out.