Collector Spotlight – Edouard Negre
Hi all, please welcome French collector and DC fan, Edouard Negre! Ed started collecting original comic art not too long ago but as you’ll see below, really put his heart and mind into it, assembling a tasteful, focused collection to do any DC aficionado proud! I’d like to thank Ed for sharing his experiences with us, both from a European perspective and as a new collector. With friendly, intelligent fans like Ed entering the hobby, the future looks bright!
Hello everyone! My name is Edouard Negre, a French collector. I’m turning 40 this year and got into original art quite recently. I’ve always been a fan of French bandes dessinées when I was a kid. I grew up on Tintin, Lucky Luke, the Smurfs – all the famous characters who have crossed our borders. My dad introduced me to that world and I’ve never left! Superheroes arrived later in my life. As a matter of fact, we didn’t have much of them when I was a kid. Just a few were published in one magazine called Strange, so we didn’t have all the actual superheroes that we have nowadays.
I really began reading American comics books as a late teenager, when I discovered “Batman: The Long Halloween” by the famous duo of Tim Sale and Jeff Loeb. I read the whole book in a hurry and was hooked. The narrative, the depth of the characters, everything was present to keep me in that universe. I therefore started reading a lot more, from both Marvel and DC, but I turned out being more a DC man than a Marvel one.
My Art Collecting Journey
How did it start? I think it was after a discussion with a friend 2 years ago. He had some cool artwork hanging on his wall and I asked how he got them. He told me he approached the artists directly and asked if they were selling them. I therefore started scrolling the web for artists I liked, beginning with the French ones. I imagined that the Americans were unreachable, like gods on their mountains!
My first original art purchase was by a French artist named Anthony Jean: a big page depicting Circe from The Odyssey, fully painted. For the record, the piece arrived damaged – not badly so – but it was a slightly disappointing start. Anthony dealt with the situation perfectly though! It took me a while to get over that and start looking again, but I decided to give it another go anyway. I discovered ComicArtFans and spent hours on the website looking for artwork and artists. I realized at that point that collecting OA was a real hobby and a lot of people were doing it; sometimes very rich people who were buying up all the best ones!
At first, I was looking for original art from “Blackest Night”, one of my favorite stories of all time, and other art that I loved, pretty much without focus or a real plan. Maybe that was a mistake, but it also provided a learning curve. I encountered a gallery – Chiaroscuro Studios on CAF – that was the official dealer for artwork by Ivan Reis, one of my favorite pencillers. I contacted them and exchanged a lot of emails, to understand the process of purchasing OA. The amount of money can be intimidating at first, but Chiaroscuro was very easy to work with, and really helped. I bought 3 splashes from them and remember how excited I was when the package arrived at my home. I took a lot of care opening it and spent even more time looking at them! A new passion was born.
While scrolling through forums and webpages, I began to understand that there were several categories of original comic art: covers, splashes, commissions… and I decided to only go for splashes or covers, and from time to time a commission and/or interiors. A collector friend told me that if I only bought art I loved, I could never go wrong. That’s true but can sometimes be slightly misleading, especially if you start buying quickly without asking yourself how that piece will fit into your collection or if it’s a good buy. Sometimes, taking a step back and considering how much you want the piece before clicking the “buy” button can be very useful, and save you a lot of money!
I’m definitely a fan of Batman, as you can see from my CAF gallery, and a DC guy more so than a Marvel one. I’m not really into the Silver or Golden Ages; the Modern era to me is the best period of comic illustration and colors – pages are more vibrant and with less dialogue, which are sometimes irrelevant and just describe the action, IMHO!
I started looking at my favorite artists who worked on the Caped Crusader and came up with a pretty long list – of course in it were the top-rated artists: Jim Lee, David Finch, Greg Capullo, etc. Like my friend Raghav V says, it’s better to take it slow at first and grow in experience, rather than buy a lot of pieces which end up in sleeves at home on the shelf! Always try to buy artwork that you want to display in your home and/or office. I myself have ended up in the position of owning pieces that I didn’t like anymore and wanted to sell.
Going forward, I’m on the lookout for Jim Lee covers and will be closely following the new Italian painters. I’ve also narrowed my focus to two main categories:
- Published covers and splashes
- Characters I love
This page has history. I never thought I could have one like it in my collection: first because Capullo doesn’t sell a lot of his artwork, and second because it was in someone else’s collection! It’s the first time I bought a piece from another collector, and I’m glad I did. I earned a masterpiece and a friend! This Batman story is to me the most iconic in the last decade – ever since “Hush”. Snyder and Capullo created a legend with “The Court of Owls”. I read the story again recently and liked it even more when I gazed upon this splash inside the book! It was a real pleasure, and true bliss to realize it hung on my wall! I love the way the Owls are spreading about Batman and the intensity of this scene. “The Court of Owls” doesn’t contain many splashes, so I’m really happy and proud to have one!
I love this cover! The character is becoming iconic and I had the luck of buying it before all the fuss around the “Metal” storyline. A lot of other collectors have approached me with offers to buy this, but for now it’s remaining in my collection. Jason Fabok is one of the new stars of DC – I have a lot of his works in my collection and the way he draws Batman is just amazing. Shame that he does some of his art digitally!
One of my grails! The ultimate grail would be a cover or splash from “Hush”, but they are pretty rare and wildly expensive. Probably out of my reach but you never know! “Hush” is so iconic and legendary that I’ve always wanted a page from it, and I had the luck to come across this one recently from the same friend who sold me the Capullo.
Ok, I said I was more a DC guy than a Marvel one… but not always. I’m a big fan of Venom and Wolverine actually, and recently discovered the work of Lucio Parrillo, an Italian artist. This is an oil painting on canvas and it’s breathtaking! The colors are so vibrant and alive compared to my usual B&W pieces. I’m sure I will buy more from him in the future…
Last but not least, a cover by David Finch. After Jim Lee, he is probably my favorite artist on Batman covers. Finch has a way of drawing the villains of Gotham – look at the eyes of Scarecrow, he really looks terrified! Finch’s recent run on “I am Bane” is also stunning, especially the scene where Batman sans hood proposes to Catwoman.
Art collecting is a journey, and new pieces will always appear. Be conscious of cash flow when collecting – be careful of what you buy and why. We can quickly get excited by a piece, then realize that maybe we don’t like it that much and want to sell it right after. Sometimes we have to restrain ourselves before buying a new piece and really think things over, or end up frustrated when a new, more appealing one comes along!
The best thing about this hobby is the people we meet. I’ve met really nice people online and IRL, and it’s always a pleasure to interact and share with other collectors. You can often obtain insights and sentiments you might not have previously considered!
You can view more of Edouard’s collection here in his CAF gallery.