Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Sacré Blue: A Comedy d’Art

Those that are enthusiasts of art may know how important the color blue was to so many different movements, both in general and for individual artists. Moore takes this idea and adds his usual amazing combination of reverence and hilarity. But the book is not merely a collection of stories about art, but takes on the air of a murder mystery around the death of Van Gogh. There is the suspicious Colorman, known by no other name. The artists that use his blue will frequently forget large stretches of time and end up with paintings they could never remember actually painting. As the story goes on the plot becomes more and more complex as we find more and more artists succumbing to the effect of the Colorman.

While the writing is solid and the research impeccable, the feature that makes this novel simply amazing is Moore’s inclusion of the very art that he discusses. Each chapter is peppered with reproductions of people and scenes mentioned. For example, when Toulouse-Lautrec mentions the redheaded washerwoman he became obsessed with, we see the very painting a page later. This could have seemed gimmicky in other circumstances, but with how rich the descriptions are in Bleu, the images of these masterpieces lend an extra dimension to the story.

Even if you are not a fan of art and just prefer a well told story, this is an excellent read. For those that cringe when writers take liberties with facts, hopefully the humor and excellent writing will sway you. And of course those that enjoy art, humor or any of Moore’s books will find this an enjoyable read. In all, I would definitely recommend this book to most everyone.

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