Cultural events

Astérix à la BnF !


from October 16, 2013 to January 19, 2014 François-Mitterrand / Large gallery

In March 2011, Albert Uderzo donated to the Bibliothèque nationale de France ( BnF) the original plates from three Asterix albums: Astérix Le Gaulois, the first story in the series, which was published in the comics magazine Pilote on October the 29, 1959; La Serpe d’or, the second episode; and, finally, Asterix chez les Belges, the twenty-fourtthh album, which René Goscinny, who died on November the 5th, 1977, never saw published.This exceptional donation makes up the heart of the exhibition dedicated to the famous cartoon enjoyed for over fifty years by children and adults in 34 albums, soon to be 35, translated into 107 languages and dialects and with over 350 million copies sold throughout the world. Covering gestation of the work, its world and its phenomenal reach and universality, this retrospective offers a playful journey to the sources, full immersion in the world of these indomitable Gauls and an analysis of the magic potion which has led to the incredible success of their adventures. The exhibition provides a setting for a comic approach to be constantly rediscovered, understood here as closely as possible to the creative process. Paying equal tribute to the cartoonist and the writer, the exhibition re-creates the alchemy of their deep friendship.

The exhibition opens on the genesis of Astérix by following in parallel the childhood and youth of the two authors, their meeting and shared creations, the launch of Pilote, for which they began to search for a new character. « Our Ancestors the Gauls » was the final, and obvious, choice. The birth certificate of this new creation was the very first original drawing, which opens a bubble that plunges the reader into the world of Asterix, while presenting a colourful portrait gallery and a summary of the trips to discover other lands.
Original or printed plates, handwritten notes and typed storylines carry on a dialog with archeological items which are the emblematic attributes of the series, recalling its historical anchoring as well as its inherent parody. The third part of the exhibition measures the “Asterix phenomenon” through its national and international impact, film adaptations, derivative toys and games, advertising use and the creation of an amusement park.

Finally, the exhibition takes a moment to analyze this unequaled success by playfully dissecting the uproarious humor conveyed by storylines, dialogs and drawings. It also highlights the strength of the values incarnated by this epic parody. The pathway ends with a foray into the intimacy of the authors at work, symbolizing the osmosis between two geniuses of the ninth art, which is incarnated by René Goscinny’s words (1976): “I am the other.”


Exhibition organized with the support of Mappy with kind permission of Editions Albert René. In partnership with the Cité internationale de la bande dessinée et de l’image, MK2 and the RATP.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013