Lost 'Little Prince' drawing found in Japan

4th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

TOKYO, April 4, 2007 (AFP) - A drawing found in Japan has turned out to be a lost page in the original edition of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's classic "The Little Prince," the French aviator-turned-writer's nephew said Wednesday.

TOKYO, April 4, 2007 (AFP) - A drawing found in Japan has turned out to be a lost page in the original edition of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's classic "The Little Prince," the French aviator-turned-writer's nephew said Wednesday.

The watercolour signed by the author depicts a scene from the 1943 book in which a bulky businessman sitting on his planet is hunched over a list of numbers, busily counting stars he calls his own.

"I am very pleased at the discovery. I was a bit moved to see a drawing by Saint-Exupery," said Francois D'Agey, 81, nephew of the writer who disappeared on a flight mission during World War II.

"Although I'm usually wary of my family's enthusiasm (at supposed discoveries) ... because we tend to become very sentimental, the drawing is very probably the original," he told a news conference.

"The Little Prince" is world-famous for its ostensibly simple story about a stranded aviator who befriends a golden-haired prince fallen from the skies who questions the incongruities of human life.

Although the story was written for children, it struck a chord with adults for its profoundly philosophical undertones.

A museum curator first bought the drawing in a secondhand book fair in Japan in 1994 but only figured out in February it was part of the book's very first edition published in 1943 in the United States.

"When I first bought it I knew that it was an original but I didn't know how precious it was," said Minoru Shibuya, curator for a museum of picture books near Tokyo. He did not disclose the price he paid.

Experts found that the paper, stains and page number all corresponded with the original 1943 "Le Petit Prince" stored at New York's Morgan Library, he said.

"Saint-Exupery was a very tall man whose speech didn't go with it because he had a very soft voice," D'Agey recalled.

"He enjoyed contact with people, whether they were children or adults ... and was constantly drawing pictures all the time and everywhere, which is probably why his works are scattered throughout the world," he added.

The recently found piece and other artwork by Saint-Exupery will be on display from April 25 to May 7 at the Matsuya department store in Tokyo's Ginza district.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

 

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