Celeste by Jean Dratz
'Celeste, Domestique Modèle'. 

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

Dratz was an illustrator for magazine AZ, and 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'. Dratz was affiliated as an illustrator to Pro Juventute, a foundation for the common good of the youth, founded by 1938 by baron and philanthropist Louis-Jean Empain. The first version of the youth magazine of the same name appeared between 1939 and 1941 and contained a comic strip by Jean Dratz with the adventures of housewife 'Marie' (1939-1940) from edition 6. Other illustrators for Pro Juventute were Jacques Laudy and Edgar Pierre Jacobs. In the early stages of the war, Dratz made antisemitic cartoons for Terre et Nation and La Nation Belge.

'Marie' (Pro Juventute #6, December 1939). 

Dratz became art director of Bravo! His tenure with the magazine inspired post-war magazines like Tintin. Because of World War II, Dratz had to replace the mostly imported American strips 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 much 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. In 1967 he passed away in Uccle. 

Petit Cheri by Jean Dratz
'Petit Chéri'. Translation: "Be nice while I go search some cigarettes." 

Series and books by Jean Dratz you can order today:


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