Cartoonmuseum Basel

Joost Swarte

Artist and designer


The internationally renowned Dutch artist and designer Joost Swarte (born 1947) is one of the most important comic book artists of today – and enjoys long-standing cult status, especially in the Netherlands and in France. Joost Swarte works in a variety of disciplines. His irrepressible appetite for creativity and storytelling usually starts out with a drawing – but more often than not it doesn’t end there. In addition to a wide variety of comics, illustrations and posters you can find stained-glass windows, fonts, objects, glasses, furniture or architecture among his works. All of Swarte’s art, be it graphic or three-dimensional, can be identified by its bold and clear characteristics, with its geometrical basic forms, its precise style, its monochrome rich colours and a subtle sense of irony. Swarte’s enormous knowledge of the shape and form of things shines through everything he does, and no wonder: Swarte studied industrial design, and cites De Stijl, Bauhaus, Streamline Modern, Memphis, and other styles with great pleasure and virtuosity. The exhibition was created in close collaboration with Joost Swarte and shows not only original drawings as well as numerous objects from all phases of the artist’s career. Joost Swarte became internationally known in the 1980s with a style clearly inspired by Underground and Hergé’s Ligne claire. Swarte published regularly in established magazines such as “RAW” and “The New Yorker”. He himself was publisher of the comic magazine “Modern Paper” and was founder of the Dutch “Stripdagen Haarlem” comic festival. Together with the architectural company Mecanoo, Swarte designed the theatre building De Toneelschuur in Haarlem and sketched the design for the Musée Hergé in Louvain-la-Neuve (BE). In 2004 he was honoured with the title of Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau by the Dutch Queen Beatrix. 
Curator: Anette Gehrig

  • Joost Swarte “Paris in abstrahierter Form”2011

  • Joost Swarte “The New Yorker”, 2007

  • Joost Swarte “Rietveld” 2011