Celeste by Jean Dratz

Jean Dratz was a Belgian artist, painter and caricaturist. Just like his father, Constant Dratz, he was specialized in painting sober and realistic Brabant and Ardennes landscapes. He studied Law and Economy at the Université Libre de Bruxelles. Between the two wars, he was an illustrator for books like 'Le Code Pénal', 'Les Chansons Estudiantines' and the books by doctor Julien Besanón. He also made decoratings and murals for several bars in Brussels.

Dratz was an illustrator for magazine AZ, and was a contributor to the Flemish edition of Bravo! in the second half of the 1930s. He made his first comic strips for this magazine, including 'De Avonturen van Mik en Mak' and 'Duizend mijlen onder de aarde'. In the early stages of the war, Dratz made anti-semitic cartoons for Terre et Nation and La Nation Belge.

He became art director of Bravo!, and it was his tenure with the magazine that was an inspiration for post-war magazines like Tintin. Dratz had to replace the mostly original American strips due to the war with original Belgian material. He created several stop comics himself, such as 'Petit Chéri', 'Céleste, domestique modèle' and 'La Famille Grenouillard', but he also attracted artists like Jacques Laudy, Edgar Pierre Jacobs and Willy Vandersteen. Shortly after the Liberation, he had to replace this team with the duo Tenas-Rali, that produced many material for Bravo!.

From 1945, he was also part of the editorial team of ABC. Dratz was a member of La Mine Souriante, the association of Belgian humorous artists. He also created numerous theatre decors, and contributed the decoration for the national pavilions of Brazil and Chile at the 1935 World Exhibition of Brussels, and of the national pavilion of the Republic of the Congo at the Expo 58. He passed away in Uccle in 1967.

Petit Cheri by Jean Dratz

Source: Dictionnaire Illustré de la Bande Dessinée Belge sous l'Occupation (André Versaille, 2013)
Laatste update: 2013-11-24

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