One of our most exciting 2017 releases was Monet: Itinerant of Light from writer Salva Rubio and illustrator Efa.
Itinerant of Light chronicles the life of the great French painter Claude Monet, one of the founders of Impressionism.
Here are three notable reviews:
Booklist (starred review)
Monet has loudly maintained, all along, that he’s the leader of the impressionists. But in 1880, six years after the first impressionist show scandalized the critics, Renoir convinces him he can’t continue fighting old battles. Like Renoir and also Sisley, Cézanne, and Pissarro, Monet has to make a living, and staying with the impressionists is guaranteed poverty. Besides, most critics were starting to warm up to impressionism. Before Efa and Rubio get there, though, they dwell on Monet’s early years of struggle, beginning with his 1862 arrival in Paris and extending just beyond his first wife Camille’s death, in 1879. And well they should, for Monet’s long road to success is a real-life artistic legend that ranks with those of Beethoven, Brahms, Van Gogh, and very few others. Framing it with Monet’s double cataract-removal in 1923, Rubio and Efa insert several masterpieces in the background and let their subject’s obsession with light enrich their fine work of mainstream European comics. An appendix discusses the background paintings, the originals of which appear alongside Efa’s adaptations and sometimes by themselves. Because Efa injects so much of Monet into his own style and Rubio presents fact as fact and conjecture as conjecture, many may think this the best of the many recent comics biographies of artists.
Library Journal (starred review)
For their English-language debut, Spanish creators Rubio and Efa join forces in this biography of French painter Claude Monet (1840–1926), one of the founders of impressionism. The story opens with Monet as an old man recovering from cataract surgery. As he awaits the return of his eyesight, he reminisces about his past. What follows is a pretty straightforward telling of his life, from his early days as a rebel student to his relationships with fellow artists Camille Pissarro, Auguste Renoir, and others. We witness his early struggles, financial hardships, creative conflicts, and eventually great success, all in an effort to capture the light and beauty in nature. Monet himself narrates, and most of the text focuses on that narration, which allows the imagery to open and explore much of the same visual landscape that occupies his paintings. Efa’s illustrations are stunning; full of strong, lush color and bold impressionistic brush strokes that call forth Monet’s style but never imitate. Many panels are designed to resemble the painter’s work in order for us to see the world as he did.
Verdict This beautiful, evocative story will please fans of biography, art history, and impressionism. Highly recommended.
Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
This evocative homage to one of the titans of modern art is both a collectible and a joy to read. As an aged Claude Monet endures temporary blindness after cataract surgery, he reviews his past: stubborn struggles against the fossilized art establishment, painfully impoverished and transient family life, and the devout (even obsessive) pursuit of natural light in his painting. One of Monet’s early works gave the name “Impressionism” to the innovative approach of a group of young artists who wanted to catch on canvas the immediate visual impact of experience. Efa captures some of that fresh outlook in his luminous illustration of Rubio’s intelligent biographical script, and a well-selected gallery section that follows the narrative lets readers follow Monet’s astonishing efforts to establish himself as an artist, which culminated in his creation of a perfect painterly environment in his estate at Giverny. The large-format binding allows room for the dynamic panel and color design. The quality of the loving production make this a landmark in serious comics about art.