Celebrities in Switzerland: Hugo Pratt
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Pratt, Hugo (1927 - 1995) Italy / Writer / VD

Hugo Pratt, illustrator, painter of water color and creator of Corto Maltese, lived on the Geneva Riviera for 11 years. Born in Rimini in 1927, he was an only son and spent his childhood in Venice before joining his father in Abyssinia at the age of 10. Prisoner of the English and then the Germans during WWII, he spent the end of the war organizing entertainment events for the allied soldiers.

After the war, Hugo Pratt started out as an illustrator for As de Pique in Venice. In 1949, he worked for the Argentinean magazine Salgari and created the character Sgt. Kirk. In 1959, he left for London where he began writing his own scripts, such as for Ann of the Jungle, a character inspired by his second wife, Anne Frognier.

After traveling extensively in South America, Hugo Prattt launched the magazine Sgt. Kirk in Genoa in 1967, and published the first strips of the Ballad of the Salt Sea, in which Corto Maltese makes his first appearance. In 1969, Pratt decided to feature him as the main character in albums such as The Celts, Voodoo for the President or Corto Maltese in Africa, to name a few.

The adventures of Corto Maltese were a resounding success: in 1983, two magazines in France and Italy were entirely devoted to the feisty captain. That same year, Hugo Pratt wrote Indian Summer for illustrator Manara.

In 1984, Hugo Pratt settled in Grandvaux, a small village in the vineyards of Lavaux overlooking Lake Geneva. His home was large enough to house his collection of some 30,000 books.

He also created the series Cato Zulu, Scorpions of the Desert and continued the adventures of Corto Maltese with Fable of Venice and The Golden House of Samarkand. The illustrator tirelessly continued his world travels until he passed away on August 20, 1995, at a clinic in Pully, near Lausanne.

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