Categories
Museum

Visit a museum in Strasbourg: the Tomi Ungerer Museum

The first museum in France dedicated to Tomi Ungerer and the art of illustration from the 20th century until today.

The Tomi Ungerer Museum and International Illustration Center lets you explore the life’s work of Alsatian illustrator and caricaturist Tomi Ungerer, and more generally the art of illustration. Having opened in 2007, it is the city’s most recent museum.

The center manages collections that include 14 000 drawings and 1 500 toys donated to Strasbourg by Tomi Ungerer, as well as over 2 000 works of graphic art by 122 different artists, both French and foreign.

The museum is located in the heart of the historic Neustadt quarter, in Villa Greiner – a late 19th-century mansion, also known as an “hôtel particulier”. 

The exhibit is organized by theme, across three levels:

  • On street-level, you’ll find original illustrations from children’s books, and most importantly from Tomi Ungerer’s most famous works, such as The Three Robbers (Les Trois Brigands) or Moon Man (Jean de la Lune), as well as toys, and color plates from comic books.
  • The upper level is dedicated to satirical drawings and advertising illustrations.
  • The lower level is dedicated to erotic drawings (for an adult public).

Three temporary exhibits are organized every year, in order to show off the diversity of the collection, and to protect the fragile paper artwork from being exposed to the light for too long. This way, Tomi Ungerer’s original drawings are exhibited side by side with works by Bosc, Pascal Lemaître, R.O. Blechmann, Milton Glaser, Michel Cambon, Maurice Henry…

The themed exhibit emphasizes the creativity, diversity, and incredible breadth of the work of Tomi Ungerer and other artists in the collection. It also highlights their great adaptability to different genres, media, and techniques.

Whether it’s refined, comical, critical, provoking or eccentric, the art of illustration expresses itself with a visual vocabulary and vision of society that allows everyone to make their own interpretation. Illustration is the direct and personal link drawn by the artist between themselves and the spectator. Through the magic of a line on a page, the illustrator can change as they please from comic to poet or children’s storyteller, from graphic designer to satirist or caricaturist… An array of different roles played to perfection by Tomi Ungerer until his death in 2019.

Tomi Ungerer Museum – International Illustration Center
📍 2 avenue de la Marseillaise, Strasbourg

Categories
unusual Strasbourg

Unusual Strasbourg: the Janus Fountain

Located just northeast of place Broglie (in square Markos Botzaris), the Janus Fountain, also known as The Birth of Civilization, was designed in 1988 by Alsatian illustrator Tomi Ungerer, on the occasion of Strasbourg’s 2000-year anniversary. The piece is named after Janus, the two-faced Roman god.

Tomi Ungerer pointed out that “the Rhineland [had been] at the heart of [his] work”. The two faces of the fountain represent the duality of French and Germanic culture in Strasbourg and Alsace. One of the faces is turned towards the historical city center, while the other points towards the old German imperial quarter of the Neustadt.

The aqueduct structure, composed of 5000 bricks, symbolizes the Roman origins of Strasbourg, where the military outpost of Argentoratum was once located.