British daily ‘Guardian’ reports on yet another lawsuit in the art world. The heirs of Belgian cartoonist Hergé, creator of Tintin, are suing French artist Xavier Marabout, for his Hergé-Hopper mashups.
Marabout painted Tintin’s character into a number of Hopper’s iconic paintings. On his website, Marabout describes his work as “strip art”, in which he “strips distant artistic universes to merge them together” in a style where “parody [is] omnipresent”.
But the Hergé’ heirs obviously do not like the idea, who said it was not funny to take advantage of Tintin by putting him in an erotic universe, especially as Hergé had chosen not to caricature women. So, Moulinsart, the company that is representing them is suing for infringement.
One of their lawyers said that “taking advantage of the reputation of a character to immerse him in an erotic universe has nothing to do with humor.” In response, Marabout’s lawyer claimed the paintings were parody and cited a “conflict between copyright and freedom of expression and creation,” asking: “[d]oes an artist have the right to wonder about Tintin’s sex life?” and “what about artistic freedom?” The court in the French city of Rennes will rule in May 2021.
Marabout told the Guardian that his work echoed the historian, Christian Jacob’s belief that “there is no cultural transmission without reappropriation.”
“In my Hergé – Hopper series, I imagined a romantic life for Tintin in the intimate and voyeuristic universe of the American painter. Because frankly, the universe of Hergé is terribly virile and women are completely absent,” Marabout said.