Guillermo Mordillo: Legendary cartoonist dies in Mallorca | Arts | DW | 01.07.2019
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Arts

Guillermo Mordillo: Legendary cartoonist dies in Mallorca

The Argentinian cartoonist, whose trademark humorous sketches featured people and animals with large bulbous noses, has died at the age of 86, his agent confirmed on Monday.

Following a report from the El Pais newspaper, it has been confirmed that lauded, award-winning cartoonist Guillermo Mordillo has passed away on the Spanish island of Mallorca, where he had a house for several decades.

"It is true, unfortunately. That's what the family told us," a spokesperson told the German Press Agency when confirming the passing of the one of the world's most beloved cartoonists.

Mordillo was born on August 4, 1932, the son of Spanish immigrants in Buenos Aires. Having lived in Lima and New York, where he worked as a Popeye film cartoonist for Paramount studios, the budding illustrator moved to Paris in the early 1960s and developed his signature minimalist style. Mordillo had also long been fascinated by the big noses seen in characters in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, and incorporated this motif into his work.

a cartoon portrays a man on a horse on stilts serenading a woman in a castle (picture-alliance/United Archives)

This Mordillo cartoon evokes the humor with which he reinterpreted classic tales

A man of few words

Mordillo used absurdist humor to paint determined characters who often try to battle adversity. But since he knew no French, his protagonists did not speak and were unaccompanied by speech bubbles, a device that was prevalent throughout nearly all of his work.

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His breakthrough came in the mid-late 1960s when his cartoons were published in international magazines such as Paris Match in France and Stern in Germany, among others. In the 1970s, he had become one of the most widely-published cartoonists in the world. Over the course of his career, he created over 2,000 drawings without words, with an average of 60 per year.

Mordillo was especially inspired by city landmarks, with his comic figures often placed alongside the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Big Ben in London and Red Square in Moscow. His work is also often themed around his favorite hobbies — football and animals.

In recent years, Mordillo — who was president of the International Association of Authors of Comics and Cartoons — published very few cartoons, while his last exhibition was in 1989 in Palma, Mallorca.

sb/ls (dpa, EFE)

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