Bob De Moor, 15 years old, draws Vivien Leigh from ‘Gone with the Wind’ + class picture!


Yesterday you could read an article regarding a cartoon-esque drawing by Bob De Moor which was found in a notebook which belonged to the late Dutch-born Lily Schmutzer. Schmutzer also followed drawing lessons at the ‘Academie voor Schone Kunsten’ from 1940 until 1945, just like Bob De Moor.

Coincidentally, that very article revealed to Carine Weve that Bob De Moor was actually the same man as ‘Robert De Moor. And behold, the notebook revealed some more De Moor material which never saw the light of day until today that is.

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The first is a drawing, which is dated June 5th 1941, and which was marked as being made in Mortsel, a community near Antwerp, where the family De Moor lived at that time (in the Jaak Blockxstraat 83 to be precise). It depicts – and this is a good guess – Vivien Leigh from “Gone with the Wind” (1939).

The film itself only entered the Belgian cinemas in 1945, but it was by 1940 already a worldwide gossip phenomenon due to the main characters playing in the film. It was a sensational hit during the Blitz in London, opening in April 1940 and playing for four years… so it’s reasonable to think that also the Flemish gossip press was already talking about it. On top, De Moor was a Western fan – and “Gone with the Wind” did feature enough Western elements to interest him. It’s highly possible he based the drawing on a photo in one of the gossip / trend magazines that existed around that time (or he saw it on a film poster).

The then 15 year old Bob De Moor signs the drawing as ‘Robert‘.

The drawing itself, is quite unique as we only know the cartoon-esque side from Bob De Moor during the period he studied at the Antwerp academy. You still see that he is not yet correctly mastering the sketching technique, the eyes are a bit hesitant and Leigh’s jaw is not correctly drawn. However, it does show that De Moor knew already well what lines made up a drawing, and the nose for instance is perfect, plus he has already well mastered the way to show the folds/shades in a blouse.

This isn’t grand art, but it does represent a clear so far missing link between his drawings as a young child and his later drawings during his time at the academy. De Moor clearly preferred the publicity drawing lessons (1943) where he had to draw cartoon figures. The only portraits known from that time are actually more cartoon like than actual portraits. For those readers interested in details, on the left side you can see that the pencil strokes and shadows of the drawing have been partially rubbed over to the opposite page.

The next item which popped up in Lily Schmutzer‘s notebook as “Robert De Moor” is a 8x6cm ‘big’ picture of the drawing class of 1940-1941. And who do we recognise there? Yep, a 15-year old Robert De Moor (nr. 7). The list of numbers with the corrseponding names is not included though, however, other pictures from around that time clearly show that nr. 7 is indeed Robert De Moor. Lily Schmutzer is sitting on the left (nr. 14).

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She wrote the following text under the photo: “Voor ‘t eerst met de jongens samen in één klas, maakten we meteen een photo. We waren met een 60 tal. We maakten veel plezier, voerden niets uit maar ’t peil stond hoger als de hogere klassen.” (Literally translated, this reads like this: “We are sitting for the very first time together with the boys in one classroom, and immediately made a photo. We were roughly with 60 people. We had a lot of fun, didn’t do anything but the level was higher than the higher classes.”) The level refers to the quality of drawing.

These 2 documents shed a new light on the early graphic career of Bob De Moor and have never been documented before. I want to thank fellow detective Carine Weve (again!) for the nice collaboration on getting this puzzle sorted out in just a few days!

A previously unpublished cartoon drawing by Bob De Moor from 1943


A few days ago we received a mail including a scan of a drawing Bob De Moor had made on February 24, 1943. This drawing, which has never been published before, was included in a A5-sized notebook owned by Lily Schmutzer (1922 – 2000).

Here’s a detail of the drawing, further down below you can see the complete drawing.

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It’s her daughter, Carine Weve, who contacted us and one thing led to another and after a few mails back and forth we can offer you today not only a previously unpublished drawing but also the context of how the drawing ended up in the notebook of Lily Schmutzer and also a bit of her own story which explains why she kept the notebook.

It’s thanks to her and especially her daughter Carine Weve that you can now discover this early work on this website, 73 years after it was created.

But let’s first sketch a bit the historical context. Lily Schmutzer was Dutch and was born in 1922. When the 2nd World War broke out, the family Schmutzer moved to Antwerp just like many other Dutch people. Not all that surprising as the Germans had used a lot more aggression to overrun the Netherlands compared to what happened during the annexation of Belgium. For instance they had bombed Rotterdam and Middelburg despite the fact that the Dutch had already surrendered. Add to that that it soon became clear that the royal family had gotten away in secret leaving their compatriots in the hands of the Germans who would install a Zivilverwaltung (aided by the bloodthirsty NSB aka the Nationaal Socialistische Beweging) compared to the somewhat more civilised military-led regime aka Militärverwaltung we would know in Belgium.

It’s highly probable that the family Schmutzer left during this period, but precise data are not known although we know Lily Schmutzer followed lessons at the ‘Academie voor Schone Kunsten’ from 1940 until 1945. And that’s where she met Bob De Moor. 3 years younger than her he would start his first year at the Academy in 1940, aged 15. Both Bob and Lily finally ended up in the same ‘portrait class’ in 1943 where the ‘professor’ was teaching (more on this character further down).

The drawing Bob De Moor made in Lily’s notebook also has some notations by Lily Schmutzer indicating who is who on the drawing. Note that Bob De Moor was using ‘Bob’ as signature and equally was known as Bob De Moor (and not Robert De Moor) with his fellow students. For the purists, Lily wrote ‘Bob de Moor’ with ‘de’ instead of ‘De’, an error which would be made a lot in the decades to follow.

Below is the A5-sized notebook.

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And here is the actual drawing. If you look really well at the drawing, you can still see the pencil drawings under the ink:

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The handwritten indications say: Bob de Moor (zelfportret), Willy Mertens (tekenaar van Prof + Hels – unreadable – zie verder), Bob S’anter‘.

For those not speaking Dutch, ‘zelfportret’ means self portrait in English. ‘Prof’ refers to a ‘professor’ who managed the portrait classes and he seems to have been a recurrent character as the notebook of Lily Schmutzer has several annotations of him.

We haven’t found any references on the 2 other characters depicted in the drawing and they were also not mentioned in Ronald Grossey‘s book “De klare lijn en de golven”.

However, Carine informed us that the note under the name Willy Mertens refers to a drawing further in the notebook where Mertens portrayed their professor portrait drawing (called Leclercq or Leclerc) together with another student Roger Helsmoortel.

On that page Lily Schmutzer also noted that the professor died in a V2 bombing in 1944. She also noted that Willy Mertens died in 1976.

The notes were mostly added years later “which shows that according to me at least her time at the academy must have been very important to her”, says Carine Weve.

The drawing itself depicts De Moor and his two fellow students as Zazous. You can read a lot more on the subject of the Zazou movement in this article we published in August last year: Zazouing with Bob De Moor in 1945.

The notebook of Lily Schmutzer reveals some extra information regarding the circumstances in which the students had to work. The war is clearly present in her comments spread throughout the pages. For 1943/44 she writes: “… door het in de schuilkelder zijn, slechts 1/4 werkjaar.” (“By being in the shelter all the time we only completed 1/4 of a year’s work”) And Carine also says that her mother told her children that because of the war there was no heating. Pictures taken during the academic year 1941/42 have comments like “‘s Morgens hingen de ijspegels aan onze beelden en moesten we eerst de buitenkant ontdooien. En dan kregen we wéér een maand vacantie.” (“In the morning we first had to defrost the outside of our sculptures because there were icicles hanging from them. And then they gave us again a month worth of holiday.”) In the picture below the thick coat Lily is wearing indicates that it was very cold in the classroom.

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“In the end my mum never worked as a visual artist. She became a mother of a family of 5 children – and was by then madame Lily Weve-Schmutzer, Weve being her husband’s family name – and gave us a youth where we lived around a (dining) table where we drew and pieced things together. And ‘everything was possible’,” recalls Carine. Two of the 5 kids would go to the arts academy. Sylvia Weve for instance became a multi-award winning illustrator of children’s books, among others. She for instance illustrated translated books by Roald Dahl and Mikael Engström. You can find her website right here.

Although Carine didn’t mention it in her correspondence, she is actually also active as a visual / conceptual artist and has seen her work exhibited in The Netherlands, China, Poland, the USA, Germany and Belgium. You can find some more info on her work right here.

Many many thanks go to Carine Weve for the info and pictures provided.

Swinging with Barelli, Anne Nannah and Bob De Moor in Clichy in 1981


In 1981 the city of Clichy (a commune in the northwestern suburbs of Paris, France) organised it’s 8th comic festival (from 12 til 14 June included). For the occasion Bob De Moor was a central guest together with Jean-Claude Fournier. Jean-Claude Fournier, known simply as Fournier, is a French cartoonist best known as the comic book artist who handled Spirou et Fantasio in the years 1969-1979.

Especially for the occasion De Moor made a special drawing featuring Barelli, Anne Nannah and himself. The drawing is one of those typically circle-sized De Moor drew over the years. In the drawing you can see Barelli and Anne Nannah dancing just like De Moor who is swinging on the music of whilst drawing the scene with the aforementioned characters.

Swinging with Barelli, Anne Nannah and Bob De Moor in Clichy in 1981

The music featured is clearly De Moor’s own jazz & blues music taste. And he has been dancing a lot looking at the state his shoes are in (plasters, parts falling off, nails coming out).

We found this drawing in the now defunct comic magazine Archéopteryx n°2 which featured a special for the festival which was hidden in the archives of the family De Moor.

Walt Disney influences in this 1946 illustration by Bob De Moor


In the easter 1946 edition of KZV aka Kleine Zondagsvriend, Bob De Moor illustrated a story called “De duivel uit den hollen boomstronk” (The devil from the hollow tree stump) in the ‘Professor Goudzoeker vertelt’ series. The illustration – a splendid one – was one of many Bob De Moor would make for KZV for all kind of standalone stories for which he only took care of the illustrations and not of the text itself.

We have been diving into our own archives to showcase you some of these illustrations. Today is the first one. It’s also the first time since 1946 that the illustration which we show you today sees the light of day again, and the very first time it’s being published on the internet too.

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The story itself is written in Dutch (albeit in a post-WW2 version with a slightly different spelling and a somewhat obsolete way of writing). The plot is the following: a soldier is asked to buy 2 horses in Turnhout (that’s near Antwerp). During his journey to Turnhout he gets robbed by an old man. After desperately trying to find the robber for hours and hours, he falls asleep inside a hollow tree stump, which gets axed by a band of bandits including the old robber. When the bandits fall out with each other, one of them calls for the devil. The soldier jumps out of the tree stump which is already set on fire after which he collects the money plus lots more which the bandits had stashed away.

The illustration Bob De Moor made (and signed as ‘Bob’) shows this last scene. You can clearly see that the way of drawing instantly reminds of the style used by Walt Disney (which you can also find back in the album “Le Mystère du vieux chateau fort” released in 1947 via Campéador). Several elements also can be traced back to Bob De Moor: the shoes, the way the floor is drawn, both elements which we find back in the series Hobbel & Sobbel and Bart De Scheepsjongen which De Moor was drawing during that same period. The vivid colouring is pretty astonishing and was one of the key ingredients of KZV back in those days.

The original drawing probably went lost as is the case with many of the drawings De Moor made during that time.

Janneke en Stanneke, a 1948 series by Bob De Moor never published in album format (except for one story)


In 1948 en 1949 a new Bob De Moor (under the Artec Studios flag) series saw a publication: ‘Janneke en Stanneke’.

It was the weekly comic strip publication ‘t Kapoentje which published the different stories. ‘Stories’ because many people think that there is only one Janneke en Stanneke story, namely the one which in the end got re-published for the very first time in album format by Ciso Stripgids (via Brabantia Nostra) in 1989.

It’s not all that weird that many people are unaware of the other stories, because if you don’t get published, you easily get forgotten, and that is exactly what happened here.

Janneke en Stanneke, a 1948 series by Bob De Moor never published in album format (except for one story)

The stories got published in a weekly only and got forgotten over time by most people. However, if you paid attention when reading the 1989 publication, you could have seen that the 60-strips long story actually is the follow-up story to another Janneke and Stanneke story. It starts with a text reminding readers what happened just before.

Today we present you the strips 37, 38, 39 and 40 of an unpublished untitled story (in album format that is). Note that none of the Janneke en Stanneke stories actually had a title, which doesn’t really make it easier to know what you are looking at. The duo finds themselves in the company of indians this time.

Don’t look too much for a story, because the series is actually a collection of gas with a loose story woven into it, the same with the story published in album format. Nevertheless, it’s part of De Moor’s heritage and a very good way to see how Bob De Moor‘s technique improved over time.

In the page published today you can see that De Moor is still a bit clumsy as far as the structure of the page, strips and cases is concerned. There clearly was no plan when creating the story or the page in particular. Not surprising, that year he would complete at least 17 stories… so there was no time for much story development let alone a lot of preparation. Things had to move on, and fast because the contracts for new stories kept on pouring in at the Artec Studios.

You can also see that De Moor struggles when it comes to putting people in a position which is not just walking or standing still. Look at case 1 and 2 for instance where he clearly is not at ease with the way he has drawn things. Also the use of a black shadow in the first 2 cases is not well-done (he would excel in it later on in his career through).

Nevertheless, these are stories which definitely deserve a re-publication. We wouldn’t be surprised that the fine people at Brabantstrip will ‘attack’ this in the next months or years (hint hint hint!).

The lost 2nd part of the ‘De witte maw-maw’ album cover


In March 1999 a black and white version of the Snoe and Snolleke album “De Witte Maw-Maw” saw the light of day.

It was a collaboration between 3 comic strip festivals and the Brussels based Enigma publishing house and it seems they had really big plans keeping the Bob De Moor fans busy for quite some time collecting all the different parts, because yes, they had split up the album in 2 parts.

The second part was to be released on the Comic Festival of Ganshoren later that year, on may 15th, to be followed by 3 parts compiling “De Spaa-motor”.

Below the copy we have (thanks to Alain Demaret for giving this!).

de-witte-maw-maw-enigma

‘Was’ because alas, nothing materialised except for this first part. Why? We’re not sure, but we have contacted some people to get some more info on this.

Nevertheless, we know this, Johan De moor had drawn a cover for the first part and – and this many people don’t know – he also completed the 2nd cover artwork, which in fact together with part 1 composed one single drawing. We have known this for a while, but it was only when we stumbled on this blog post by the Brussels based comic store Het B-Gevaar that we discovered the 2nd part too.

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de-witte-maw-maw-fenixAs you will see the cover artwork for the Fenix album version published in 2005 by Brabantstrip is quite different too from this 1999 version by Johan De Moor. Especially Snoe and Snolleke have been redrawn for the later version and added into the first cover, which creates a better balance. At the same time Johan De Moor gave them a more Bob De Moor style.

We’ll update this story when we get extra information.

Johan De Moor pays tribute to Bob De Moor’s Balthazar for the upcoming Comic Strip Festival in Brussels (02-04/09)


From September 2 through September 4 you can visit the Brussels Comic Strip Festival in the Brussels park.

The festival has been celebrating comics of all kinds in Brussels since 2010, and welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year. Young or old, amateur or specialist, there is always something for everyone among the many activities on offer.

For the 2016 edition, the Brussels park will be hosting comic museums, dozens of publishing houses, exhibitions, book shops, comic sellers, conferences, workshops and hundreds of authors signings. The Brussels Comic Strip Festival also includes a night-time show at Brussels Park, the Balloon’s Day Parade, the Comic Strip Festival’s Rally, comic strip exhibitions and activities throughout the city.

From September 2 through September 4 you can visit the Brussels Comic Strip Festival in the Brussels park. The festival has been celebrating comics of all kinds in Brussels since 2010, and welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year. Young or old, amateur or specialist, there is always something for everyone among the many activities on offer. For the 2016 edition, the Brussels park will be hosting comic museums, dozens of publishing houses, exhibitions, book shops, comic sellers, conferences, workshops and hundreds of authors signings. The Brussels Comic Strip Festival also includes a night-time show at Brussels Park, the Balloon's Day Parade, the Comic Strip Festival’s Rally, comic strip exhibitions and activities throughout the city. We have been there for the past few years and it's always a delight meeting authors, publishers and friends. For Bob De Moor fans, there is a big chance you'll be able to complete your collection there as there are always shops present which also cater to the more 'conservative' comic strip fans. But, let's get back to Bob De Moor, or more precisely his son Johan De Moor who has completed the official artwork for the Festival's posters. On the poster we not only Tintin, the Smurfs, Ric Hochet, Thorgal, the Chevalier Ardent, etc., but also Balthazar. I'm sure you will recognise a lot other characters including a reference to Willy Vandersteen ("De schat van Beersel"). We all know that especially Balthazar is one of Johan's favourite characters, so that doesn't come as a surprise. Quite a nice poster this one is!

We have been there for the past few years and it’s always a delight meeting authors, publishers and friends. For Bob De Moor fans, there is a big chance you’ll be able to complete your collection there as there are always shops present which also cater to the more ‘conservative’ comic strip fans.

From September 2 through September 4 you can visit the Brussels Comic Strip Festival in the Brussels park. The festival has been celebrating comics of all kinds in Brussels since 2010, and welcomes more than 100,000 visitors each year. Young or old, amateur or specialist, there is always something for everyone among the many activities on offer. For the 2016 edition, the Brussels park will be hosting comic museums, dozens of publishing houses, exhibitions, book shops, comic sellers, conferences, workshops and hundreds of authors signings. The Brussels Comic Strip Festival also includes a night-time show at Brussels Park, the Balloon's Day Parade, the Comic Strip Festival’s Rally, comic strip exhibitions and activities throughout the city. We have been there for the past few years and it's always a delight meeting authors, publishers and friends. For Bob De Moor fans, there is a big chance you'll be able to complete your collection there as there are always shops present which also cater to the more 'conservative' comic strip fans. But, let's get back to Bob De Moor, or more precisely his son Johan De Moor who has completed the official artwork for the Festival's posters. On the poster we not only Tintin, the Smurfs, Ric Hochet, Thorgal, the Chevalier Ardent, etc., but also Balthazar. I'm sure you will recognise a lot other characters including a reference to Willy Vandersteen ("De schat van Beersel"). We all know that especially Balthazar is one of Johan's favourite characters, so that doesn't come as a surprise. Quite a nice poster this one is!But, let’s get back to the subject of this article. Johan De Moor has completed the official artwork for the Festival’s posters (thanks to Alain Demaret for the info). On the poster we not only find the characters such as TintinSmurfette, Ric Hochet, Thorgal, the Chevalier Ardent, etc., but also Balthazar. Yep, that funny abstract character which De Moor developed in 1975. We all know that especially Balthazar is one of Johan’s favourite characters, so that doesn’t come as a surprise.

I’m sure you will recognise a lot other characters including a reference to Willy Vandersteen (“De schat van Beersel”). Quite a nice poster this one is!

The alternative version of Barelli’s ‘Bonne mine à la mer’ cover


Today’s article was triggered by a mail we got from Petja van den Hurk who pointed us towards this blogpost by Peter Velter on the Joost Swarte website.

The article recalled an aborted project from 1975 to unite a number of comics by well known underground authors in one album. But although the project never got realised, Velter did compile the works by Joost Swarte and Bob De Moor in a new book, “Blijf Kalm, Werk In Uitvoering”. The book (rather a magazine) itself is a quite limited edition and was only made available to people close to the project and the artists themselves (or their family in the case of Bob De Moor).

You can preview the book right here.

One drawing stood out and that’s an alternative cover for the Barelli album “Bonne mine à la mer”. There are a few things to say about the cover. First of all you will notice that De Moor already made a previous version on the same page and then placed a newer version on top – you can see the border right under the heading. A detail is also that De Moor had no idea yet what number the album would be in the Collection Vedette.  And significant is that the artwork was immediately in French (many people still think erroneously that De Moor first wrote his scripts etc. in Dutch).

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In 1975 Bob De Moor would see the “Bonne mine à la mer” album released via Le Lombard. It would be the only full album released so quickly after being published in the Tintin journal (n°6-14 1974). It was the follow-up album to the 1972 story “Barelli et le Bouddha boudant” and through 32 pages Barelli discovers the world of the radio pirates which often broadcasted from boats in the late seventies.

The alternative cover is based on page 17 of the album, more precisely case 7 and 8 as you can see below.

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It shows Barelli’s yellow Alpine Renault almost falling off a cliff. The composition of this alternative cover looks quite dynamic with falling rocks etc. but perhaps it didn’t really represent enough the red line of the album, namely radio pirates. So in the end De Moor would go for the rubber boat heading towards a radio pirate boat.

The album was most recently re-issued by BD Must editions and is an absolute must for Tintin fans as you will recognise many scenes which will immediately show you what drawings Bob De Moor worked on for the Tintin albums around that time.

Bob De Moor’s version of Thomson and Thompson going Ola


Ola, better known in the Anglo-Saxon world under the brand name ‘Wall’s‘, is an ice cream brand owned by the Anglo-Dutch food and personal care conglomerate Unilever. And back in the (60s?), 70s and eighties they regularly collaborated with the Studios Hergé in order to use the Tintin characters in their adverts, run contests via Tintin Journal etc..

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It was Jean-Claude Registo who pointed us towards an auction where today’s drawing was being sold (it would fetch 500 Euro in the end). The 44,8 x 17,2 cm big drawing was undated and was described as being made by the Studios Hergé. But you don’t have to have a trained eye to instantly recognise Bob De Moor‘s steady hand in the lines.

How do we know it’s for Ola? Well, Thomson and Thompson can be seen enjoying an ice-cream on the left (the left ice-cream being completely drawn). Also, on the right you can see both funny guys next to a big box, which is actually a big freezer holding Ola ice-cream.

There were many different scenes invented for this Ola campaign. Below you can see an example of the duo riding an ice cream float for instance.

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Bob De Moor draws Agent Officer No. 15 on a memo for the Tintin Journal


Bob De Moor is know for having drawn a lot of drawings on all kind of documents. Today we present you a Studios Hergé document which was recently auctioned for a little more than 350 Euro if memory serves me right.

Bob De Moor draws Agent Officer No. 15 on a memo for the Tintin Journal

The document is actually a memo which was used by Bob De Moor to clarify that he had sent 11 coloured pages in the Monsieur Tric series to the Tintin Journal offices situated at the Editions Du Lombard. The pages sent were for the story “Une course de ballon mouvementée”, which was originally published in 1955 but re-published in colour in 1983 (the print was done in a very poor way we must say, it’s a mystery how that ever left the pressing plant to begin with, but more on that later).

Also included in the memo was the information that 2 coloured Quick & Flupke pages were shipped off to the Tintin Journal offices. The letter dates from 29 April 1983, about 2 months after Hergé succumbed (3 March 1983), which shows the studio was at that time still functional and producing (new) material.

But Bob De Moor fans are of course mostly interested in the quick drawing Bob De Moor added on the memo, namely one of Officer No. 15 (Agent Nr. 15 in French) which you must know from the Quick & Flupke series. Like said earlier, De Moor did a lot of these drawings on documents he sent off to the Tintin Journal offices featuring a set of characters, from Blake & Mortimer to Tintin. It kinda shows that De Moor was really enjoying his job, a job which a few years later he’d be forced to quit when the studios disbanded in 1987 and transformed into the Hergé Foundation.

But for the time being, Bob (and Johan) De Moor was still unaware of the enormous storm which would break out…

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