Monday 24 June 2019

Tributes paid to award-winning French artist and children’s book author (87) who died in Cork

Tomi Ungerer (87) from Strasbourg moved to Ireland in 1976.
Tomi Ungerer (87) from Strasbourg moved to Ireland in 1976.
Tomi Ungerer (87) from Strasbourg moved to Ireland in 1976. Photo: @tomiungerer instagram
Rachel Farrell

Rachel Farrell

TOMI Ungerer, a renowned author and illustrator from Strasbourg, has died at his home in Co Cork at the age of 87.

Known for his satire and “witty aphorisms”, Mr Ungerer published 140 books in his lifetime and was the first ever Ambassador for Childhood and Education for the Council of Europe.

According to his official website, a museum in his name was opened in 2007 in Strasbourg, making him the first living artist to have a museum dedicated to their life and work in France.

Mr Ungerer previously worked as an illustrator for the New York Times in the 1950s but became best known for his illustrations in children's books, most notably ‘Moon Man’ (1966) and Jeff Brown’s ‘Flat Stanley’ (1964).

Outside children's books, he was also known for his political posters against the Vietnam War and racial injustice in the 1960s and for his erotic work.

He moved to Ireland in 1976 with his wife Yvonne, where he ended up in Goleen, Co Cork. A death notice on RIP.ie says that he will also be sadly missed by his four children, Aria, Phoebe, Pascal and Lukas.

In a clip posted on his official Twitter page at the weekend by his family,  Mr Ungerer said: “And when I die, I’ll find out what’s behind the far out. 

“Maybe there’s nothing, but nothing is fantastic, too. Because if you’re faced with nothing, you can fill it up with your mind.”

In the statement, the family said: “RIP our beloved Tomi. Words escape us at this difficult moment but in the end, Tomi says it best.”

A spokesperson for the French Ambassador in Ireland extended their thoughts with the family on Saturday, saying that his illustrations “enchanted” many people.

“We are very saddened to hear of the passing of Alsatian illustrator Tomi Ungerer in his Co Cork house last night. 

“In his drawings, he strived to reveal the child in all of us and his works have enchanted millions around the world. Our thoughts go to his family today.”

His funeral will take place in Bantry on Tuesday.

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