World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Tomi Ungerer

Tomi Ungerer
Tomi Ungerer by Claude Truong-Ngoc (2014).
Born Jean-Thomas Ungerer
(1931-11-28) 28 November 1931
Strasbourg, France
Occupation Artist, illustrator, writer
Nationality French
Alma mater Municipal School for Decorative Arts (Strasbourg)
Period 1957–present
Genre Children's picture books, erotic literature
Notable works
Notable awards Legion d'Honneur France

Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration
Relatives Theodore Ungerer (father)
Alice Ungerer (mother)
Bernard (brother)
Edith (sister)
Vivette (sister)

Jean-Thomas "Tomi" Ungerer (born 28 November 1931)[1] is a French illustrator and a writer in three languages. He has published over 140 books ranging from much loved children's books to controversial adult work and from the fantastic to the autobiographical. He is known for sharp social satire and witty aphorisms.

Ungerer received the international Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1998 for his "lasting contribution" as a children's illustrator.[2][3]


  • Biography 1
  • Overview of work 2
  • Awards 3
  • Bibliography 4
    • Children's books 4.1
    • Adult books 4.2
  • List of exhibitions 5
  • Other works 6
  • Quotes 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


Ungerer was born in Strasbourg, France, the youngest of four children to Alice (Essler) and Theo Ungerer.[4][5] The family moved to Logelbach, near Colmar, after the death of Tomi's father, Theodore — an artist, engineer, and astronomical clock manufacturer — in 1936. Ungerer also lived through the German occupation of Alsace when the family home was requisitioned by the Wehrmacht.

As a young man, Ungerer was inspired by the illustrations appearing in The New Yorker magazine, particularly the work of Saul Steinberg.[6][7] In 1957, the year after he moved to the U.S., Harper & Row published his first children's book, The Mellops Go Flying, and his second, The Mellops Go Diving for Treasure; by the early 1960s he had created at least ten children's picture books with Harper, plus a few others, and had illustrated some books by other writers. He also did illustration work for such publications as The New York Times, Esquire, Life, Harper's Bazaar, The Village Voice,[7] and for television during the 1960s, and began to create posters denouncing the Vietnam War.

Maurice Sendak called Moon Man (1966) "easily one of the best picture books in recent years."[8]

After Allumette; A Fable, with Due Respect to Hans Christian Andersen, the Grimm Brothers, and the Honorable Ambrose Bierce in 1974, he ceased writing children's books, focusing instead on adult-level books, many of which focused on sexuality. He eventually returned to children's literature with Flix 1998. Ungerer donated many of the manuscripts and artwork for his early children’s books to the Children’s Literature Research Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia.[9]

One consistent theme in Ungerer's illustrations has been his support for European construction, beginning with Franco-German reconciliation in his home region of Alsace, and in particular European values of tolerance and diversity. In 2003, he was named Ambassador for Childhood and Education by the 47-nation Council of Europe.

In 2007, his home town dedicated a museum to him, the Musée Tomi Ungerer/Centre international de l’illustration.[8]

Ungerer currently divides his time between Ireland (where he and his wife moved in 1976),[10] and Strasbourg.[8] In addition to his work as a graphic artist and 'drawer', he is also a designer, toy collector and "archivist of human absurdity."[8]

A biographical documentary film, Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story, was produced in 2012. The film was featured at the 2013 Palm Springs International Film Festival.[11]

Overview of work

Tomi Ungerer describes himself first and foremost as a story teller and satirist. Prevalent themes in his work include political satire such as drawings and posters against the Vietnam War and against animal cruelty, eroticism, and imaginative subjects for children's books.


The biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award conferred by the International Board on Books for Young People is the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children's books. Ungerer received the illustration award in 1998.[2][3]


Children's books

Adult books

  • Der Herzinfarkt (1962)
  • The Underground Sketchbook (1964)
  • The Party (1966)
  • Fornicon (1969)
  • Tomi Ungerer's Compromises (1970)
  • Poster Art of Tomi Ungerer (1972)
  • America (1974)
  • Totempole (1976)
  • Babylon (1979)
  • Cat-Hater's Handbook, Or, The Ailurophobe's Delight (1981) — co-authored by William Cole
  • Symptomatics (1982)
  • Rigor Mortis (1983)
  • Slow Agony (1983)
  • Heute hier, morgen fort (1983)
  • Far out Isn't Far Enough (1984)
  • Femme Fatale (1984)
  • Schwarzbuch (1984)
  • Joy of Frogs (1985)
  • Warteraum (1985)
  • Schutzengel der Hölle (1986)
  • Cats As Cats Can (1997)
  • Tomi: A Childhood Under the Nazis (1998)
  • Liberal Arts: The Political Art of Tomi Ungerer (1999)
  • Erotoscope (2002)
  • De père en fils (2002)

List of exhibitions

Other works

The Fontaine de Janus in Strasbourg


  • "If people were brave enough to live out their erotic fantasies, pornography would disappear altogether. I've always believed that eroticism, even more than sensuality, is a form of liberation." — Erotoscope

See also


  1. ^ "Official Website". Tomi Ungerer. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  2. ^ a b "Hans Christian Andersen Awards". International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  3. ^ a b "Tomi Ungerer" (pp. 100–01, by Sus Rostrup).
    The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, 1956–2002. IBBY. Gyldendal. 2002. Hosted by Austrian Literature Online. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  4. ^ Ungerer, Tomi. Tomi: A Childhood under the Nazis. Roberts Rinehart Publishing Group, Colorado. 1998. ISBN 1-57098163-9
  5. ^ Who's who in U.S. Writers, Editors & Poets - Curt Johnson - Google Books. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  6. ^ Ungerer profile. Lambiek's Comiclopedia.
  7. ^ a b Kennedy, Randy. "Tomi Ungerer Returns". The New York Times. 27 July 2008.
  8. ^ a b c d Author bio, Moon Man (Phaidon Press Limited, 2009).
  9. ^ "Happy Birthday, Tomi Ungerer!, Free Library Blog (November 26, 2010).
  10. ^ "Tomi Ungerer – Biography". Official website. Retrieved 2010-08-15. 
  11. ^ "Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story". Palm Springs International Film Society. Retrieved 2013-06-17. 

External links

  • Official website
  • The Musée Tomi Ungerer
  • Biography translated from an exhibition in Hanover
  • Tomi Ungerer: The Artist and His Background (1971)
  • Far Out Isn't Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story - Trailer on YouTube
  • Tomi Ungerer at Library of Congress Authorities — with 133 catalog records
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.