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Comic strips and illustration in Geneva

The rise of the comic strip in Geneva can look back on a long and distinguished history which began with the local author, Rodolphe Töpffer. This heritage has constantly grown over time thanks to the city’s authors, publishing houses, book stores and art schools. Included in Geneva’s intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in 2012, this living tradition has benefited from the proud support of the City of Geneva since 1997, in particular with the Prix Töpffer awards.

Illustration dessinée

Seen as the father of comic strips, the Geneva-born author and theorist, Rodolphe Töpffer (1799-1846), launched a tradition in the first half of the 20th century which has lasted to the present day thanks to a fertile breeding ground inhabited by devotees. From Ceppi and Poussin in the 1970s through Zep and his famous “Titeuf” to Tirabosco and Kalonji, the ninth art in Geneva has over time been lucky enough to be able to call on leading lights who have contributed to creating an active scene and ensuring that comic strips are firmly rooted in the city’s cultural heritage.

The Prix Töpffer awards

For the past twenty years, the City of Geneva has celebrated and supported the rise of the comic strip through the Prix Töpffer awards. Every year, these awards pay homage to the very best comic strips from Geneva and abroad, awarding a prize of 10,000 Swiss francs for each category. In 2010, the canton joined the event by offering a young persons’ comic strip prize and, since 2017, the 3 prizes have been awarded jointly.

In addition to these awards, the municipal libraries programme events relating to comic strips throughout the year.

New sector in Geneva

An important role has also been played both by knowledgeable publishers and gallery owners and by the impetus provided by art schools. In September 2017, Geneva became the first Swiss city to establish an academy for comic strips and illustration. This sector therefore offers its budding artists a new professional training, guaranteeing a promising succession to this long tradition.


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Article modifié le 15.09.2023 à 14:04