‘Persepolis’ Book Art by Marjane Satrapi Sells For $665,000 in Sotheby’s Online Auction


By Nazanine Nouri


An online auction of 44 sheets of original book art from “Persepolis,” the bestselling graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, raised a total of 580,230 pounds ($665,000) at Sotheby’s, the auction house said.

All 44 sheets offered online between Oct. 12 and Oct. 25 were sold. The priciest was the opening page of “Persepolis” ­– written in French, picturing rows of schoolgirls in headscarves, and titled “Le Foulard” (“The Headscarf”). It fetched 40,320 pounds ($46,200).

The sheets had been estimated at 4,000 to 6,000 pounds (roughly $4,600 to $6,900), and 90 percent of them sold for more than their high estimates, Sotheby’s added.

“Persepolis,” published in 2000, is today considered one of the most successful graphic novels of all time. It has sold millions of copies around the world and has been translated into multiple languages.

It tells the story of the 1979 Islamic Revolution through the eyes of a young girl called Marji whose daily life is turned upside down. She suddenly finds herself living in a country where a strict dress code is imposed on girls and women, and where the headscarf becomes mandatory.

The Sotheby’s auction of the “Persepolis” sheets coincided with nationwide protests in Iran sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested and taken into custody by the morality police because a few strands of her hair were showing underneath her headscarf. The demonstrations, which are still under way, were begun by young girls and women tearing off their headscarves and burning them in the streets.

In comments made before the auction, Satrapi said she had decided six months earlier, in a conversation with Sotheby’s, to put up her original book art for auction.

“I could never have imagined it would be in the context of the incredible scenes we are seeing in Iran today,” she said. “When I set out to write my story, I also could not have imagined that its message would be so universal.”

“The proceeds from the sale will enable me to self-fund a future project and have the freedom to pursue it on my own terms,” she added.

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