Tomi was born and grew up in Alsace – a region of France on the border with Germany.

Alsace has a complex history with which Tomi identifies strongly and which has had a deep influence on his work. Born before the Second World War, as a child Tomi lived through the occupation of his region. As an adult, he has worked tirelessly, through his art and through political and cultural campaigns, to bring about and promote Franco-German friendship – something that he is very proud of.  

In 2007, the town of Strasbourg opened the Tomi Ungerer Museum, making Tomi the first living artist in France to have a public museum dedicated to his work.  The museum organises exhibitions of Tomi’s work and of other illustrators on a rolling basis and has been an award-winning institution since it’s inception.

I was born an emigrant in my own country and have remained one all my life. I was born in Alsace, a region torn between France and Germany. I was French before the Second World War, then the Nazis arrived and I was German. After the war I was French once again.

As I once said, Alsace is like a toilet – always occupied! On the other hand, it is a kind of freedom to have no patriotic feelings. This back and forth taught me to compare rather than condemn or hate. It taught me relativity –an important theme in my work. If there is a football match between France and Germany, I still wish for the Irish to win!Tomi, 2016

Alsace Agonie!

Alsace Agonie

Alsace, terre battue.
La liberté, c’est avant tout le droit de l’individu à sa propre identité. L’égalité, c’est l’harmonie entre les différences qui se complètent. La fraternité se crée dans le respect de l’identité des autres.

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Tomi Ungerer L’Alsacien

Here is a text, in French, by the Director of the Tomi Ungerer Museum, Therese Willer.  It’s about Tomi Ungerer’s relationship with Alsace and its influence on his outlook and work.   Tomi Ungerer, l’Alsacien  « Je suis ma propre patrie. Mon drapeau, c’est mon mouchoir[1]. » (Tomi Ungerer) Alsacien de naissance, Tomi Ungerer est devenu au cours […]

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Tomi’s relationship with France and Germany was forged in the complex Alsatian dynamic. His work spotlights the inherent tension of the geographic proximity of Alsace to two European powers and yet he has also been very influential in building cultural bridges between France and Germany.

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