Banque Dessinée is holding a special 75th anniversary Spirou comics art auction tomorrow. The lots include everything from Franquin’s original sketches for the zorglumobile and the Turbotraction II, to signed prints, to collectible plastic figurines. However, what was supposed to be a centerpiece of the auction, a series of Spirou drawings by Rob-Vel and Davine, have been denounced as fake by Christelle and Bertrand Pissavy-Yvernault (CBPY), the authors of La véritable histoire de Spirou and experts on the early history of the series.
The pieces have been withdrawn from the auction, and now appear listed in the category hommage à Rob-Vel et Davine (“Tribute to Rob-Vel and Davine”) rather than as originals. Embarrassingly, this includes the piece chosen as the auction poster, which is still credited to Rob-Vel on the site. CBPY also identify two illustrations in their books La véritable histoire de Spirou and the Rob-Vel intégrale as being forged, pledging to replace them in any future editions. According to them, the counterfeiter has been identified, which should hopefully stem future forgeries.
It should also be pointed out that doubts were raised months ago about the authenticity of purported Rob-Vel and Davine pieces on the BDGest forums (although I don’t believe the question was ever resolved). Without taking any position on the authenticity of these drawings, here’s a gallery of illustrations that have been put in question:
If we may speculate, Spirou Reporter would suggest that one reason for choosing to counterfeit Rob-Vel or Davine (pseudonym for both Luc Lafnet and Blanche Dumoulin) is that it doesn’t take the same skill that would be required to convincingly imitate e.g. Franquin, Jijé or Chaland, not to mention artists who are still alive.
We can only recommend that you don’t buy comics art from this man!