Jean-Jacques Sempe is one of the most successful and best-loved cartoonists in the world, best known from his cartoons that have graced the covers and pages of the New Yorker for decades. Sempe has published numerous collections of his work in his native France, but never before have they been translated into English. Phaidon Press is delighted to present the first English translated publication of Mixed Messages by Jean-Jacques Sempe, one of four witty and beautifully illustrated collections from this notorious and widely adored cartoonist.
The most recent collection of Sempe's work, Mixed Messages was originally published in France in 2003. Here Sempe turns his attention to the trappings of modern life, from cell phones to designer water, and revisits some of his favorite subjects, such as struggling artists, a look psychiatrists and unhappy couples. One image portrays two business men in conversation, traveling down a cit street aboard personal scooters, ironically wondering about the kind of society they are leaving to their children. While another image, rendered beautifully in watercolor, mocks New York City's resolute ban of smoking in restaurants; calling on the NYPD to take out a lit cigarette in a vacated French Bistro. Whether he is poking fun at the urbane patrons of fashionable restaurants or the inhabitants of the bucolic countryside, Sempe treats all of his subjects with equal amounts of insight and affection.
Sempe's work, once just the one-of-a-kind illustrations that appeared before our American eyes in delightful yet sporadic moments, can now be brought home as an enchanting part of every family's library. Mixed Messages, just one volume of four, includes more than 100 illustrations, both pen and ink, with captions translated by Anthea Bell. Professionals, children, and adults of any age will fall in love with these charming books.