This 1930 artwork is the first cover image to also feature both Tintin and Snowy, his faithful canine companion.
Tintin and Snowy, the comic characters who later brought Hergé/Georges Remi (1907-83) worldwide fame, first appeared in Le Petit Vingtième, the weekly children’s comic tucked into the major Belgian daily Le Vingtième Siècle. In January 1930, buoyed by the success of Tintin, the supplement doubled size to 16 pages with a frontpage illustration added.
The 11 x 12in (27 x 30cm) sheet provided the cover to the issue dated February 13 as an introduction to the 139-page saga Tintin in the Land of the Soviets. The scene shows the hero carving a tree trunk into a makeshift propeller for his plane, watched by a heavily bandaged Snowy.
The signed ink on paper drawing with gouache corrections was estimated to fetch around $1.3m at the European comic art auction at Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas, on June 8. It sold for a hammer price of $900,000 (£707,756) or $1.125m (£884,695) including 20% buyer’s premium.
“Tintin is a seminal character, who has been loved and admired for generations the world over,” said Joe Mannarino, a director of comic art at Heritage Auctions. “His popularity is as great now as it has ever been.”
The sheet is one of only a few known privately-owned cover illustrations signed by Hergé. Both the previous owner and the winning bidder remain anonymous.
The auction record for Hergé/Remi stands at €2.65m set in 2014 for pages from a 1937 Tintin publication.