René Giffey was one of the most prolific and most talented French artists of the first half of the 20th Century, creating an incredible amount of work over a 50-years career. Giffey got his artistic education at the National School of Decorative Arts and the School of Fine Arts in his native city Paris.
From 1904, he did his first professional work for Delagrave, varying from schoolbook illustration to drawings for Saint-Nicolas magazine. Four years later, he contributed to several collections of the publisher Arthème Fayard. He additionally made shadowplays for the cabarets of Montmartre.
Giffey was drafted during World War I, and contributed to the frontline magazine Face aux Boches. After the War, he restored some old church paintings and began a long collaboration with the publishing house Offenstadt. His work appeared in many of the publisher's magazines, most notably in Fillette, L'Épatant, Le Petit Illustré, Cri-Cri, L'As, Hardi! and Junior.
His most notable comics work at the time were new stories of 'L'Espiègle Lili' with Jo Valle in book collections (1921-23) and Fillette magazine (1933-36), as well as 'Ninette et Cloclo', 'M. Dupont, Détective' and 'Nigaude et Malicette'. Giffey additionally made occasional erotic illustrations, among others for John Spaning's novel 'Educatrice' and the Librarie Générale and the Almanach de l'Humour.
Other comics by Giffey during the 1930s and 1940s include 'Les Frôle-la-Mort' (in Boum!), 'Jean Lion le Spahi' (in L'As), and 'Les Assiégés de Médine' (in Junior). He created many new comics for Fillette in the 1950s, including 'Le Capitaine Fracasse', 'Les Compagnons de Jéhu', 'Cinq-Mars', 'Colomba', 'La Vénus d'Ille' and 'Carmen'.
The artist additionally worked for other publishing houses, like Félix Juven (Fantasio, Le Rire), Gerbe (Humour, Sans-Gêne), Jean Pascal (Journal Amusant), Paul Duval, Belin, Casterman, Diderot, Librairie Générale, Manufrance, Prima and Gautier-Languereau. His signature also appeared in France-Soir, Le Journal de Taty and Robin l'Écureuil.
From 1941, he was present at Del Duca (Ed. Mondiales), where he produced his main comics output. He contributed to (pocket) publications like L'Aventure, L'Audacieux, L'Astucieux, Les Belles Aventures, Tarzan, L'Intrépide, Hurrah!, Buffalo Bill, Mousquetaire, Yo-Yo, Les Aventures Illustrées and Les Belles Aventures.
He worked on series like 'Le Chevalier de Roncevaux', 'Buffalo Bill', 'L'Aigle des Mers', 'Quatre-vingt-treize', 'Le Corsaire de la Mort', 'Dédé Loupiot contre les Boches', 'Jean Bart', and a large amount of comics adaptations of famous novels, including 'Les Misérables'. René Giffey died of a cardiac arrest in 1965.
-Quelle brute ce type-là, qu-est-ce qu'il te voulait?
-Eh bien, c'est mon protecteur...