Piem was a French editorial cartoonist who was the house artist of Le Figaro and Témoignage Chrétien between 1947 and 1981. His cartoons also ran in Point and La Croix, while his pantomime comic strips 'Monsieur Pépin' and 'Turlupin' (1956-1958) were syndicated in the 1950s. Piem was also a noted media figure. He appeared as a cabaret artist in theaters like L'Olympia and Bobino, while he drew sketches in TV shows such as 'Le Petit Rapporteur' (1975-1976) and 'La Lorgnette' (1977-1978).

Early life and career
He was born in 1923 in Saint-Etienne (Loire) as Pierre Georges Marie de Barrigue de Montvallon. His father Serge de Montvallon was the head of La Maison de la Chimie ("House of Chemistry"), an international conference centre in Paris for scientists and engineers in the field of chemistry. Pierre's brother, Robert de Montvalon (1920-2001), later became a well-known writer and journalist. Pierre de Montvallon went to the École Massillon, a private elementary and high school in Paris and studied art at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and École Paul-Colin, also in the French capital.


In 1947 De Montvallon became an editorial cartoonist for the newspaper Le Figaro and the Christian magazine Témoignage Chrétien, where his brother Robert became chief editor between 1958 and 1961. He signed with the pseudonym Piem, a contraction of his first name and the first letter of his last name. His cartoons were published under the title 'PIEMeries' and also ran in Point and La Croix. Many have been collected in thematical books about politics ('Aux Larmes Citoyens!', 1976), tennis ('Les Mordus du Tennis', 1984), football ('Les Modus du Foot', 1985), skiing ('Les Mordus du Ski', 1987), cars ('Les Mordus de l' Automobile', 1988), children and grandparents ('Petits Enfants, Grands Parents', 1989), school ('L'École', 1998), cell phones ('Les Accros du Portable', 2000), holidays ('Les Joies de la Retraite!', 2001) and psychiatrists ('Mon Stress, Mon Psy et Moi', 2003), among other things.

Piem was a member of the Syndicat National des Journalists (National Syndicate of Journalists). He was also known for his personalized postcards, which were collected in the book 'J'Aime La Poste' (2008). Piem illustrated the cover of Boris Vian's book 'En Avant en Zizique' (1958).

'M. Pépin'.

Comic strips
During his career, Piem only made a few other comic strips than his 'PIEMeries'. Both 'Monsieur Pépin' and 'Turlupin' first appeared in alternation with each other in Le Figaro during the 1950s. That same decade, the mostly absurd 'Monsieur Pépin' strips were also syndicated to newspapers through the Opéra Mundi agancy. The over 350 pantomime 'Turlupin' gags (1956-1958) had a more wider circulation. Through Mondial Presse, they appeared in about a dozen provincial newspapers, including Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace, Centre Presse, Le Dauphiné Libéré, La Montagne (in 1957, 1974 and 1987), La Nouvelle République, Le Courrier de l'Ouest, L'Est Républicain and La République du Centre. Another comics feature by Piem was the vertical strip 'Le Film de la Semaine' ("The Film of the Week", 1950) in France-Soir. For the book 'Piem se met à table' (1994) by Jean-Paul Tibéri, Piem also created 44 comic strips under the title 'Aventures Amoureuses d'une prise de Courant' ("Love Adventures of a Power Outlet").


Cabaret and TV appearances
Piem regularly performed comedy routines on stage. He even appeared in prestigious Parisian theaters like L'Olympia and Bobino. TV audiences knew him from his regular appearances in the TV shows 'Tac au Tac' (1969-1975) on ORTF, where Walloon and French cartoonists and comic artists were invited to try and top each other drawing funny doodles on the spot. Piem was the star cartoonist in a similar show, 'Le Petit Rapporteur' (1975-1976) on TF1. This was a satirical news program, hosted by Jacques Martin (not to be confused with the creator of 'Alix': Jacques Martin). Piem had a segment titled 'La Petite Semaine de Piem' ("Piem's Little Week"), where he mocked current events with his cartoons. He initially appeared in the follow-up show 'La Lorgnette' (1977-1978) on Antenne 2, which followed the same concept. After a few episodes he was succeeded by another cartoonist: Dadzu.

On 13 July 2001, Piem was inducted into the Légion d'Honneur, and named "Commandeur dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres" on 14 January 2005. He was additionally bestowed as Officer (14 November 2008), Knight (9 September 2009) and Commander (13 May 2016) in the Ordre National du Mérite.

Final years and death
After his retirement in 1981, Piem became active in local politics. He was elected into the council of his home town Notre-Dame-d'Oé. He died in 2020, on the day of his 97th birthday. His son, Thierry Jean Marie de Barrigue de Montvallon, who signs with the pseudonym Barrague, is also a cartoonist.

Books about Piem
For those interested in Piem's career, Jean-Paul Tibéri's book 'Piem se met en Table' (Jean-Cyrille Godefroy, 1994) is highly recommended. The most recent book to chronicle his career is 'Les Dessins les Plus Drôles' (Le Cherche Midi, 2017).


Series and books by Piem you can order today:


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