Born in 1971 in Nice, artist Joann Sfar has been a source of important stimuli for the contemporary comic for over 20 years. Having grown up with Jewish culture and in a family home full of literature, he wrote and illustrated his first stories at an early age. Now, his oeuvre has grown to include over a hundred albums and books in the French-speaking world alone. The most famous is his series “The Rabbi's Cat”, which began in 2001 and will soon encompass eight volumes. After a tomcat belonging to a rabbi from Algiers eats a parrot, he can talk and is able to convey his unconventional, practical, philosophical and religious views. He becomes a critical commentator in a story keenly followed by hundreds of thousands of readers and adapted as a film in 2011 by Joann Sfar himself. After studying philosophy in Nice and attending École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris, Sfar, who has also worked successfully as a screenwriter, novelist and director, developed a distinctive style as a comics artist. His repertoire ranges from subtle quiet ink drawings to borrowings from painting. Spontaneous sketches in unfettered watercolours interchange with honed-down lifelike portraits – sometimes on the same page. His profound stories are never without gaps: they call for imagination and a desire to contemplate. Readers enthusiastically accept this challenge and critics have honoured Sfar with all the major awards in the world of comics. The retrospective at Cartoonmuseum Basel is this artist's first-ever large-scale overview exhibition.