The Jewish Museum is taking a look at the life and work of the celebrated comic book writer and name behind the iconic Asterix series, René Goscinny, in its latest dedicated exhibition.
Titled Asterix in Britain: Life and Work of René Goscinny, the exhibition is a major retrospective exhibition inspired by the artist who for many revolutionised the comic book genre and played a role in dissolving the divide between learned and popular culture.
Over 100 items gathered from around the world will be displayed for the first time together in the UK, including original artworks, scripts and storyboards as well as Goscinny’s own tools, sketchbooks and family photographs. The exhibition will highlight the writer’s contribution to European culture, at the same as unearthing the substance of his Jewish heritage.
Born in Paris in 1926, Goscinny was a child of Jewish emigrants from Poland and Ukraine, spending his childhood in Argentina before moving to New York as a young man. Upon his return to Europe some years later, Goscinny founded the Franco-Belgian comics magazine Pilote and launched his career as a cartoonist.
In 1959, Goscinny – with Albert Uderzo – released hit most famous creation, Asterix, following the adventures of a village of indomitable Gauls as they resist Roman occupation in the year 50 BC. Created in collaboration with the cartoonist Albert Uderzo, the series was an instant hit with readers and is today considered one of the world’s most popular comics.
Goscinny’s books have since sold more than 500 million copies worldwide and his work has been translated into 150 languages, with 100 film adaptations.
The Jewish Museum’s Asterix in Britain exhibition organises Goscinny’s life and career chronologically and thematically and features a number of rare, original Asterix works.
Abigail Morris, director of the Jewish Museum, said: “We have gathered materials of an unprecedented scale and richness for this exhibition, which highlights the brilliance and creativity of a remarkable writer, the child of Eastern European Jewish immigrants, who made a he contribution to European culture.
“Characters like Asterix, humorously yet shrewdly tell the story of a marginalised people under threat and how a small village use their wits to resist an occupying force.
“It’s a story that appeals not only to all ages but resonates with readers all over the world. Visitors will learn not only about the outputs of Goscinny’s prolific career but also about the cultural heritage that lay behind his genius.”
Asterix in Britain: The Life and Work of René Goscinny is adapted from the exhibition originally produced by the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris in partnership with the René Goscinny Institute.
Ian Downes of Start Licensing, the Asterix brand agency for the UK, added: “Exhibitions like this help to celebrate the history, origins and influences behind Asterix. They are a great opportunity for fans – old and new – to get closer to the artwork and understand the influences behind Asterix.
“From a licensing point of view this is a further example of how exhibitions and live events are becoming more important to the development of a brand, not least in their ability to connect a brand with consumers.”