Cartoonist Plantu Leaves Le Monde after 50 Years

The celebrated cartoonist of France’s Le Monde daily Plantu said Friday that he would soon leave the paper after half a century of work that has seen him mock the elite in his country and elsewhere with bitingly acerbic drawings.

The departure on March 31 of Plantu — who has championed cartoons as a bastion of free expression — comes as a freedom of speech debate is raging both at the venerable paper and in France.

Plantu is the second cartoonist to leave Le Monde in a week,
but this one has nothing to do with the other.

Plantu, whose real name is Jean Plantureux, said his departure was not linked to the move this week by fellow Le Monde cartoonist Xavier Gorce to sever ties with the paper in a censorship row.

Plantu told AFP he would be taking his retirement when he turns 70 in March.

Plantu has created some 14,000 cartoons in his career, mainly for Le Monde, and has already handed most of his collection to the National Library of France (BNF)

Plantu’s cartoons will be replaced with something dear to his heart:

He said his cartoons would be replaced by drawings by Cartooning for Peace, an organisation he founded with former UN secretary general Kofi Annan 15 years ago to promote cartoons from around the world.

No French president over the last half century has been safe from the mordant wit of Plantu, who has campaigned for UN cultural agency UNESCO to recognise newspaper cartoons as a fundamental human right.

The report comes from AFP but, sacré bleu, I can’t find the original article,
so here is the story via Barron’s.

From Plantu’s Cartooning for Peace page:

Plantu published his first cartoon on Vietnam War in the newspaper Le Monde in October 1972. His drawings were regularly published in the headlines since 1985.
From 1980 to 1986, he also worked for the magazine Phosphore and since 1991 he has been publishing a weekly page in the magazine L’Express. On the same year, he won the « Rare Document Award » at the Angers Festival du Scoop for managing to append both signatures of Yasser Arafat and Shimon Peres on the same drawing, a year before the Oslo Accords.
In 2006, Plantu and former Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan (Nobel Peace Prize in 2001) organized a symposium in New York, in which Cartooning for Peace was formed. This network, with its association in Paris and foundation in Geneva, promotes freedom of expression for cartoonists around the world and counts already 147 members. Plantu has published more than 60 books of his press cartoon collection (Le Monde editions, Le Seuil).