PARIS | Matignon

6 Oct > 10 Nov 2023


The Huberty & Breyne gallery is delighted to be hosting an exhibition of work by Claire Bretécher, the first since the artist's death in 2020.
Alongside a previously unseen collection of 49 original plates, the gallery will be showing preparatory sketches and exploratory work, including a remarkable colour sketch for the cover of volume 4 of Les Frustrés and a rare study in Indian ink on paper for the cover of the first volume (image above), together with various other single-image gags (also published in Les Frustrés). These are exceptional works that will give viewers a clear insight into Claire Bretécher's artistic approach and methodology.
The 49 original plates on show are as follows:

- 9 original plates from volume 1 of Les Frustrés*
- 10 original plates from volume 2 of Les Frustrés*
- 8 original plates from volume 3 of Les Frustrés*
- 4 original plates from volume 4 of Les Frustrés*
- 7 original plates from volume 5 of Les Frustrés*
- 7 original plates from Les Mères, published in 1982 in Le Nouvel Observateur
- 4 original plates from Salades de saison, published between 1971 and 1974 in Pilote

* Published between 1973 and 1981 in Le Nouvel Observateur

From the start of the 1970s and continuing into the 1980s, Claire Bretécher (1940-2020) provided regular entertainment for her readers - both men and women - in the pages of Pilote magazine and later Le Nouvel Observateur, eliciting a response that was a mixture of laughter on the one hand and teeth grinding on the other.  

Over the years, she built up a remarkable oeuvre remarkable in more ways than one. Her criticism of contemporary society was as acutely insightful as it was mercilessly scathing. No shortcoming, minor or otherwise, escaped her notice. In her pages, reprinted in the collections Salades de saison, Les Frustrés and Les Mères, she gave us back mirror reflections of ourselves,
homing in on the personal tics, the little weaknesses and absurdities, of her contemporaries, while expressing herself with absolute freedom. For Claire Bretécher, everything was fair game, nothing above mockery.

It is thanks to its uncompromising honesty that Claire Bretécher's work had such an impact on its time, and that it transcends that time moreover. Reading her in 2023, post Charlie Hebdo, post the advent of movements like MeToo and Woke - is to recognise just how contemporary Bretécher really is. Her work not only withstands the test of time but is, in fact, perhaps even more relevant today than yesterday, as the plates on show in the Huberty & Breyne exhibition in Paris amply demonstrate.

While Les Frustrés remains a key cultural reference point thanks to what the series says about contemporary society, Claire Bretécher's modernity found equal expression in her graphics. Abandoning the conventions of traditional comic strip, she continued to develop an original aesthetic, from one illustration to the next, simply using a pen and a pot of Indian ink. The most recent revolution in the history of the 9th art coincided with the explosion of graphic novels on to the market, some twenty years ago, opening the way for narrative freedoms previously reserved for a handful of odd publishing epiphenomena, and we can agree that Claire Bretécher's drawing technique, and even typography, prefigured and heralded these changes thirty years before they occurred. Claire Bretécher's animated drawing style is flourishing as never before.


Thursday 5 October 2023, from 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm


From Friday 6 October 2023
to Friday 10 November 2023

PARIS | Matignon
36 avenue Matignon
Tuesday > Saturday 11.00 am - 7.00 pm


© Claire Bretécher / Dargaud