J. J. Sempés  Celebrates the la petite reine, his Bicycle

Françoise Moulyin
New Yorker Magazine

We recently chatted with the eighty-seven-year-old artist, en français, about the sources of his inspiration and the dreams that haunt his old age.

You have often spoken of your love of bicycling, but what inspired this specific image?

It’s always been one of my dreams—to have a group of friends who go for bike rides in the country every Sunday morning. In real life, it never happened. I kept trying to organize it but everyone was always too busy to slow down for it.

How did you conceive those outings?

Well, we’d get a bit of exercise, build some muscle and also spend some time together. We’d take our bikes on the train and get to the small country roads that run along the fields. It’s quiet and smells good and it’s totally out of fashion. Sometimes one of us would know a good country restaurant, but then it would turn out that it was closed. I keep thinking back on those outings—it’s one of the things I really wish I had done. 

Here are other covers by Sempé that celebrate his love of biking.

j j sempe bike art - San Diego Scenic Cycle Tours

September 2019 New Yorker Cover