The Millon auction house announced Thursday that it would maintain the sale planned for Sunday in Brussels of an original drawing by Albert Uderzo dating from 1963, despite the opposition expressed by the latter's daughter considering the conditions of acquisition by the seller doubtful. .
This is an original drawing of the cover of Asterix and Cleopatra, a gouache measuring 32x17 cm, the value of which is estimated between 400,000 and 500,000 euros. It was sold in the Belgian capital by the son of a man who became its owner more than 50 years ago “following a donation made by Albert Uderzo,” assures the auction house. But Sylvie Uderzo, the designer's daughter, "disputes ownership of the board put up for sale" and at the end of November instructed a French lawyer to file a complaint with the Brussels public prosecutor's office. A complaint for “concealment of breach of trust or theft” specified this lawyer, Orly Rezlan.
“The objective is in the short term to prevent the sale, in any case to have the time to shed as much light as possible on the circumstances of the possession of this board and perhaps even to recover it in the long term. », Explained Me Rezlan on December 2 to AFP. Asked on Thursday about the follow-up given to this complaint, the Brussels public prosecutor's office did not respond immediately. The Belgian federal police referred the matter to the prosecution.
“The reason for opposition expressed by the Uderzo family according to which an original not autographed by Albert Uderzo would necessarily be the result of theft does not stand up to legal analysis,” asserted for its part the Millon Belgique house. “It’s a simple begging of principle.” In the eyes of the firm established in Brussels, nothing justifies the suspension of the sale of the famous cover “which will therefore be held on December 10”.
Huge success at the cinema, with nearly 25 million admissions worldwide for Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra (2002), the adventures of the Gaul in Egypt were firstly a comic book album. On the front cover, Uderzo parodies the poster for the 1963 Hollywood production Cleopatra, at the time the most expensive film in history. Uderzo's Cleopatra takes the same pose as Elizabeth Taylor, Asterix replaces Julius Caesar played by Rex Harrison and Obelix Marc Antony, played by Richard Burton.