Claire Bretécher is one of the best social-satirical French cartoonists of her time, best known for her comics dealing with women and gender-related issues, such as 'Les Frustrés' and 'Agrippine'. Born in Nantes, she worked as an art teacher for several months, before taking on illustration assigments for the magazines of the Bayard group. She had her breakthrough when she illustrated René Goscinny's text strip 'Le Facteur Rhésus' in L'Os à Moelle in 1963. A year later, she was an illustrator for Record, and she also made short stories and the comic series 'Claire et Pétronille' and 'Baratine et Molgaga' for this magazine until 1970. In 1965 and 1966, she was present in magazine Tintin with the gag series 'Hector'.
Between 1967 to 1971, she made humorous series like 'Les Gnan-Gnan', 'Les Naufragés' (with scripts by Raoul Cauvin) and 'Robin des Foies' for Spirou. Together with Yvan Delporte, she produced 'Alfred de Wees' for the Dutch magazine Pep, that was later published as 'Fernand l'Orphelin' in Spirou's Trombone Illustré section in 1977.
From 1969, she was also a regular contributor to Pilote. She created the 'Cellulite' feature between 1969 and 1977, in which she satirized the excesses of feminism. Pilote also ran her series of gags under the title of 'Salades de Saison' from 1971 to 1974. Desiring to make more adult-themed comics, Bretécher founded the satirical magazine L'Écho des Savanes with Gotlib and Nikita Mandryka in 1972.
Brétécher left the editorial team of this magazine after only one year, to create her best-known series 'Les Frustrés' for Le Nouvel Observateur. The comic, full of social observations, earned her the label "Best sociologist of the year" by French linguist Roland Barthes in 1976. Some installments caused quite a stir among Catholic readers, such as the serial about Sainte-Thérèse d'Avila.
She also turned to self-publishing and released the first 'Les Frustrés' collection in 1975. She continued working only for Le Nouvel Observateur until 1981, and self-published numerous books from 1976, including 'Le Cordon Infernal', 'La Vie Passionnée de Thérèse d'Avila', 'Les Mères', 'Le Destin de Monique', 'Docteur Ventouse, Bobologue' and 'Tourista'.
In 1988, she launched the 'Agrippine' series, in which she dealt with existential dilemmas and futile teenager concerns, set in a consumer society. After self-publishing four books between 1988 and 1995, she released three more through Hyphen (1998-2004) until a final book was published by Dargaud in 2009. A TV series based on the comic was broadcasted by Canal + in 2001. Claire Brétécher retired from her comic activities in 2009. She is also active as a painter.