The cartoonist Piem, who mischievously sketched the news in the 1970s show “The Little Protractor”, died Thursday, November 12, the day of his 97e anniversary.
“Press cartoonist, humanist”, Piem, whose real name is Pierre Georges Marie de Barrigue de Montvallon, also had “Worked for 36 years at Le Figaro, then at The cross », recalled his family in a statement.
“He’s smart, he decided to leave on his birthday, it was someone amazing, our father” cartoonist Barrigue, the first of his 7 children, told AFP.
La Croix had met him in 2012.
[Archives] Article published on February 26, 2012
Pierre de Barrigue de Montvallon, known as Piem, descends with a slow but determined step, with its aristocratic port, the stairs of the Noue, its house of Notre-Dame-d’Oé, near Tours (indre-et-Loire) . It is here that the designer retired definitively with Elisabeth, his wife for sixty-five years, for a very active retirement. He continues to draw and write every day in his vast studio in the attic of the old family house from the 15th century.e century, once a summer and weekend residence.
A fierce refusal to give in to old age
Dressed in cream-colored canvas pants, a green wool sweater and vintage white sneakers, Piem takes care of his appearance. Although slightly arched, her silhouette communicates her fierce refusal to give in to old age. He looks like the tennis players of the last century, Jean Borotra or René Lacoste, or those golfers he knows well. He has just dedicated a book full of irony to them, his latest opus, Golf enthusiasts, published in the spring by its faithful publisher of Cherche Midi.
At the age of 88, the cartoonist, who had started in the press at Christian witness before knowing his heyday at Figaro, at Unity with his weekly column “Dipapacéquoi” then to The cross, did not surrender. This close to the authors Gabriel Ringlet and Gérard Bessière, very friends with Noël Copin, late director of The cross, shines when he hears the word “Finally” : “There is no end yet, I have not said my last word”, he said, a mischievous smile on his lips, lighting one of his countless pipes, distributed between his office, the smoking room and the kitchen. Invited the weekend before this interview at the Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire book fair (Indre-et-Loire) for a drawing workshop, he was still enraged by the low attendance. “There were more empty chairs than people, it must be said that the hour was badly chosen”, he mumbles. With a thoughtful sigh, he adds: “At my age, that teaches you humility! “
In the morning, when he gets up, he repeats “Carpe Diem” and above all, one of its many currencies, “Keep Piem! “ The designer gives himself up with good grace. He likes to talk about his experiences, his disappointments, human hypocrisy, politics too, his relationship with God, his engagement in the army in January 1945, honored with the title of cartoonist corporal. With the irony, finesse and humor that made this child so successful “Rickety and red-haired” of a family from Aix-en-Provence, the third in a family of five children, destined to live in the shadow of his older brothers “So strong and so brilliant”.
Between laughter and drama
This life force, the man of “Good bad mood” owes it to the tragedies of his life. Of the six children he had with Elisabeth, two died tragically. In the early 1990s, her daughter died of AIDS at the age of 28. He still remembers the day when Maria-Frédérique told him about her HIV status in a Parisian restaurant, “Shameful disease at the time”, just before a big rendezvous at the Lido in honor of Jacques Martin, with whom he participated for two years in the television program “Le petit rapporteur”. Stunned, he gets lost in the streets of Paris to the Church where he celebrated his wedding with Elisabeth in 1947.
A few months later, her son Vincent died at the age of 30 following a ruptured aneurysm. He also talks about one of his granddaughters who recently ended her life. “The consequences of Maria-Frédérique’s death were felt long after her disappearance. “ But above all, he wants to remember the happy moments of this family that “Always laughed a lot”.
November 12, 2013 will be “a beautiful celebration”
Having no memory of dates, Piem, who laughs at his artist name as follows: “Prodigious, Irresistible, Extraordinary, Modest”, has engaged in a pirouette, of which he has the secret. Looking to the future, he fully understands that we celebrate the bicentenary of his birth! Pierre de Montvallon was born on November 12, 1923 in Saint-Étienne, “On the banks of the Loire workers”. He enjoys having married and living today in Touraine, where the Loire was synonymous with royal splendor and prosperity. At almost 89 years old, he is also looking forward to November 12, 2013, the date on which he will blow out his 90 candles, which will give “Place for a beautiful party”.