Robert Lassalvy - Gag cartoonist

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Biography

Robert Lassalvy is a French cartoonist born on April 22, 1932 in Cournonterral (Hérault). After briefly studying industrial design at the age of fifteen and then attending the School of Graphic Arts of Paris for four years, he dedicates himself to humorous drawing.

Keen observer of daily life and the world around him, Lassalvy stages familiar characters in unusual and comical situations. Thanks to his sparkling imagination and remarkable skillfulness, he caricatures with brio and playfulness the small flaws and little quirks of the mind of ordinary people, thus turning them into real popular heroes.

Through a gallery of picturesque portraits and gags, Lassalvy sheds light on a multitude of larger-than-life characters deeply rooted in their social environment and often planted in intimate settings. Aiming to provoke laughter by a burlesque effect, his cartoons are a parodic interpretation of human nature. Timeless and universal, they reveal a form of mocking spirit underlining the absurd, strange, comic or ridiculous aspects of reality.

Known for his saucy humor and sexy pin-up girls, Lassalvy starts his career in conformity with the morality of the time by publishing his first cartoons in the catholic magazine Le Pélerin in 1950, then Le Rire in 1952. This same year also marks the beginning of his relationship with the journal Ici Paris, for which he creates the character of Caline as well as his famous Choutes chéries ; two original creations which publication will stop in 1994, after more than 40 years of success.

Then, other great titles will follow : France Soir, Nous Deux, La presse, Marius, Le hérisson, France Dimanche, L’équipe, Le Parisien libéré, France football, Le journal du dimanche, Paris jour, Noir et Blanc … (see press section).

In 1958 and 1959, Lassalvy appears in the journal Cœurs vaillants, which remained famous for having been the first to publish The Adventures of Tintin by Hergé in France in 1946. In 1959 and 1960, his cartoons are published in Pilote, great journal illustrated with comics founded by Albert Uderzo and René Goscinny. From 1955 to 1965, he collaborates with the weekly Bayard and the monthly Record, two more journals dedicated to young readers and comic strips. Lastly, in 1966, Marcel Dassault who noticed his cartoons in Ici Paris asks him to work for Jours de France which publishes Les parisiennes by Kiraz.

By the late ‘60s, considering the evolution of morals and society, Lassalvy decides to portray the small flaws of his contemporaries in a naughtier fashion. As a result, he begins to imagine gags related to the intimacy of romantic relationships and married life, favoring single-panel cartoons with no caption. This is how he will later create his famous busty starlets whose generous curves have been widely displayed in charm magazines. His racy cartoons released in Lui (1964-1989) and Playboy (1977-1996) will become the most emblematic of his work.

Published in the United States by Playboy Press in the magazine Oui, as well as in Brazil in the humorous monthly Status Humor, this tireless chronicler also met a large success in Japan with a cartoon entitled : « Lassalvy, c’est la vie ! » printed daily in a Tokyo newspaper.

Jack-of-all-trades, he also contributes in 1973 with Mose, Roger Sam and Rik Cursat to the illustration of a booklet called Conorama by San-Antonio based on the novel « Les con » by Frederic Dard. A few years later, the French novelist writes to him : « Dear Lassalvy, every time I see your works, I seem to be looking at mine in a mirror. We will have to meet someday. I love you and kiss you ».

Lastly, in 1983, he receives from Alain Poher, President of the Senate, the first prize of medical humor at the 6th Annual Press Cartoonists Festival.

From Ici Paris to Playboy, from Lui to La Vie Catholique, Lassalvy has been published in the French and international press for 50 years.

He was made knight of the Order of Arts and Letters on November 30, 1999.

Until his passing on March 31, 2001, he will continue to work for some foreign publications and dedicate the rest of his time to painting, his second passion.

On January 12, 2020, the municipality of Cournonterral will pay him a vibrant tribute by inaugurating with his name the old covered market located at City Hall.

 

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