Jacques Martin and Lefranc: the passion for the car (…)

Born on September 25, 1921 in Strasbourg, Jacques Martin will always have a sonly love for Alsace. A big enthusiast for cars and mechanics, Martin joined Tintin’s diary in 1948, precisely by offering an illustrated automobile section. At the same time, he created the character ofAlex and explores the history of antiquity. After a few years, however, the designer wants to develop a modern series where he can pamper his passion for cars and invent the character of Lefranc, a reporter.

With a constant concern for innovation, as his cinema points out Patrick Gaumerauthor of Jacques Martin, time traveler (Casterman, 2021): “In each story, Jacques Martin tries to renew himself: on the one hand in the Alix series, on the other hand in the Lefranc series.


It is therefore within this contemporary series that he can demonstrate his passion for the car. IN france, cars are not only means of transport, but are geographical and temporal landmarks. The book Lefrancs cars finds this passion in Martin with the help of unpublished paintings and illustrations and even an unpublished cartoon, specially produced for the occasion.

The two exhibitions presented in Molsheim highlight the extraordinary work that the artist has done.

The first exhibition called “Les Mondes de Jacques Martin”, which is visible from 18 May until 18 September 2022, takes place at the Chartreuse Museum in Molsheim – a unique historic building that allows you to discover , at the same time, everyday monks who lived there. The exhibition consists of eight rooms and invites visitors to stroll through the universes that Jacques Martin has explored in his work: france plays an important role there, however Alex, Jhen and Lois is also present. Alsace is clearly honored with its landscapes or its castles and cathedrals …

Here are some excerpts:

Plates with Strasbourg Cathedral
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
Focus on the album “La Rançon”
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
The cartoonist Marc Jailloux, current cartoonist for Alix, in front of Alix boards of directors drawn by Jacques Martin, for whom he was an assistant.
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
Patrick Gaumer, curator of exhibitions and author of the book “Jacques Martin, le voyage du temps” (Casterman)
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
A world map showing all the adventures of Lefranc
Photo: Thelma Susbielle

The second exhibition, “Les Voitures de Lefranc”, will be presented from 6 July to 18 September 2022 at the Monnaie de Molsheim. This one focuses on Martin’s passions for the history of aviation, cars and sports. Through a selection of plates, sketches and documents, the exhibition thus immerses visitors in Martin’s precise work on the car, in his Lefranc albums, but in documentary works. Magnified boards show the artist’s, an athlete’s own, mastery when it comes to getting the bodies moving.

The town of Molsheim is famous because it is home to the Bugatti factory in particular – whose luxury cars are the most expensive in the world. Thus Bugatti Type 57 Atalante driven by Lefranc in the album The Wine Route Rally of Page and Régric (Casterman) can be admired in the exhibition, accompanied by an Alfa Roméo Giuletta, a car also driven by Lefranc during one of his adventures. Let’s see instead:

Miniature Bugatti
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
Bugatti Type 57 Atalante in the flesh. Hey no! Rather iron and tires!
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
Yet another Bugatti
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
On these enlarged illustrations one can notice Jacques Martin’s extraordinary attention to detail in the execution of the movements.
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
Jacques Martin on his water skis: an excellent athlete!
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
Frédérique Martin, daughter of the designer and Laurent Furst, mayor of Molsheim
Photo: Thelma Susbielle
Simon Casterman (left), last representative of the line of founders in the house bearing his name, was present at the inauguration
Photo: Thelma Susbielle

A great opportunity to come and discover this inviting and charming region this summer!

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