Cover Image: Degas and Cassatt

Degas and Cassatt

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Member Reviews

This is such a brilliant graphic novel. I loved every single second of it. Each picture was as beautiful as a piece of artwork. The story line was utterly amazing. I also learnt so much about these two wonderful artists. This graphic novel is a must read for every 18+ art fan out there. It was a truly spectacular graphic novel that I became so engrossed in and I was in awe from the start. I just can't recommend this book enough. 

The highest praise goes out to the author, artist and publishers for bringing this stunning book to life. I will definitely be looking out for more fantastic graphic novels by this author and publishers.

The above review has already been placed on goodreads, waterstones, Google books, Barnes&noble, kobo, amazon UK where found and my blog either under my name or ladyreading365 or lady Reading365 or ladyc reading
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My second book read from this artistic team (the first one being "Django: Hand on Fire"), and it doesn't disappoint. This is how you write an interesting biographical story - yes, you show the artistic work, but you also show the human that Degas was, a human that which was a bit of an arse.

Efa's art is beautiful yet again, and the whole book ends on a really moving note.
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Europe Comics has been publishing a handful of classical art and literature biographies as of late, and I’m all for it. Much like with a similar book, Mademoiselle Baudelaire, the format of a graphic novel takes a name from an art history book, a stuffy footnote at best, and breathes life into them. I feel as if something like this is far more beneficial to someone learning about said artist vs a list of dates to memorize. The subject for this review is a book called Degas and Cassatt – The Dance of Solitude by Salva Rubio and Efa, which covers the life of famous impressionist artist Edgar Degas and his relationship with a woman that was perhaps his only real friend.

“Founder of the Impressionist movement of which he was one of the most merciless critics, too bohemian for the bourgeois and too bourgeois for the artists, Edgar Degas was a man of many paradoxes. A loner, he loved only one woman without ever courting her. Looking into this unique relationship at the twilight of Degas’ life, Efa and Rubio open the pages of the artist’s notebooks hoping to unravel the mystery of this genius full of contradictions.”

While there isn’t a plausible way for the artist to 100% copy the art style, you can tell that this was a VERY ambitious project to capture the style and tone of Degas’ notable impressionist artistic style. Everyone is drawn in pastel, or a passable simulacra of pastel paintings. This is not reserved for the handful of reproductions of his famous paintings we see alluded to, but a stylistic choice done throughout the entire comic. if this was, in fact, all hand-drawn the amount of time that went into this had to have been quite immense.

The book is mostly about the tumultuous relationship between Degas and one of his proteges, an artist named Mary Cassatt. many have questioned whether Degas had more than a working relationship with Cassatt, but no letters exist to show they had any sort of “fling” and a handful of his contemporaries derided him as being celibate or even impotent. The two were inseparable for a time, with either one helping to train or promote the other in their opposite respective countries (Cassatt was American). The narrative here is book-ended by an aged Cassatt visiting the grave of Degas after his death and realizing that the man was more than he let on to be via his journals.

The same sort of relationship definitely did not exist between Degas and the majority of his other art acquaintances, we see his utter disdain for “bohemian artists”, which could explain why so many (for example Van Gogh) slagged him off to such a degree in letters. Most of his “friendships” are portrayed as mere networking relationships, or alliances of convenience. It’s almost as if Degas only stomached personal interactions as a way to further his artistic pursuits. Degas was very affluent and conservative, so the ostentatious way in which other artists lived had to have made him sick. Degas also did not help matters by being nigh insufferable to be around, voicing his STRONG opinions on things in the open rather than keeping it to himself.

This was an amazing comic due to the art and the way it captures the souls of both Degas and Cassatt. The comic does not glamorize anything, nor does it go on crazy tangents to create drama out of thin air, so the whole thing seems VERY plausible despite being historical fiction to a large degree. I’m not the most well-read on art history, so something like this was definitely something up my alley and I feel like I learned a lot from reading it. Seasoned art-historians likely have different opinions, but for me this was perfect. If you are an art fan, or have a trip to a museum coming up, this might be a good read to do in conjunction with that, as my readers know I always try to couple educational trips with books.
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Absolutely stunning book. 

Thanks so much to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest feedback.
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I've always had a thing for ballerinas so that is why i wanted to pick up this graphic novel! The art style is beautiful and tells the story well. The use of colors reflects what the emotion of the story is. Would recommend 😊
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One of the most beautifully illustrated graphic novels I've ever read; the story is a bit dry and boring, though, and I thought the blindingly white dialogue bubbles were distracting from the art.
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Just finished this graphic novel and the art on it is amazing! The way Degas’ paintings are portrayed all the way tru the end it’s so smart and beautiful! It’s a controversial figure but a really entertaining way to portrait Art History! 🖼 🎨
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In 1873 at the Café de la Nouvelle Athenas the artist Edgar Degas (1834-1917) invites a friend – a Ms Cassatt - to a special meeting.  She is not comfortable. She tells him: 

 ‘A café, Monsieur Degas, is not an appropriate place for a lady.’ Which doubtless it is not.  ‘Relax,’ he tells her, in unlikely 19th century parlance.  

  Ms Cassatt asks why she has been invited.  Degas replies it is because a very interesting meeting is about to begin.

This, history will record, is somewhat of an understatement.  Monsieur Degas’ ‘special meeting’ gave birth to a Society which included amongst others, Monet, Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro.  Seeking freedom away from the restrictive judgement and gatekeeping of the Paris Salon, The Société Anonyme des Artistes was born. April 15th 1874 at the Boulevard des Capucines.

The new Society exhibited some 165 paintings by 30 artists.  But instead of bursting onto the scene as a readymade movement overturning all previous conceptions abourt art and sculpture, the exhibition was received by a public and critical yawn.  At this stage (despite strong requests from Degas, Edouard Manet was refusing to join the group) a journalist from the satirical magazine Charivari called the rebels ‘the impressionists’.  

Degas did exhibit with the impressionists but was too fond of the idea of being recognised and receiving medals to be entirely a rebel: ultimately he succeeded in his aims, being awarded medals from the Salon and the Legion D’Honneur.

Degas and Cassatt: The Dance of Solitude Salva Rubio (Europe Comics). Artist and colorist EFA

Unless reading Bunty and Diana comics count, this is my first graphic novel ever.  I was intrigued by the subject matter.  I’m always up for a lives of the Artists book, and why not talk and write about the life of a great artist using drawings as well as words?  It makes perfect sense.  The difficulty with this is, however well it is written and or drawn the original copy might be, the digital version is hard to read because of poor production values. Or something! I am not enough of an expert to know.  I only know that I am reading my copy   In black and white I am reading my copy on a reMarkable which has quite a large screen, larger than an ipad, a kindle, and certainly larger than a phone,  but I’m still struggling.       

I don’t struggle with the themes, characterisation or ideas but the script is broken (obviously because it’s a graphic novel) always seemingly in the wrong places.  It all feels a bit plodding.

“Ah Mrs Cassatt.  As a young man in Florence I realised…”

“that sadness is the fate reserved for those who devote their lives to art.”

While Mrs. Cassatt, an artist in her own right,  unsurprisingly has laid her own work aside to help him.  She  gives us this aside:

“Truth to tell I awaited something else from Degas besides Chivalry.”

“We’d known each other for years, I thought that these days and nights might finally lead to something.”

Is this true?  I don’t know.  Certainly he was reputed to be overly fond of some of the young dancers he loved to paint.    But I do not think I shall be able to finish the book because I’m not sure my eyesight would survive it.  

Thank you to NetGalley and Europe Comics for approving me for a copy of this work.

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For the most part I’ve really enjoyed the recent trend of graphic novels making a foray into Art History. For the most part the milieu seems to work well for the genre, and there is certainly plenty of material to keep the trend going indefinitely.

This isn’t the first Degas graphic novel and I’m not sure we needed more than one, but that doesn’t really detract from the quality of this particular offering. The book focuses more on Degas than Cassatt, which is fine but less likely to teach readers with any background in the subject anything, mostly because Degas is incredibly well-documented.

To be fair, in the grand scheme of all of Art History, Cassatt is too. Perhaps it’s more appropriate to just say that Impressionism is extraordinarily well-documented, almost overly so. My interest in Impressionism is decidedly less than that of many other trained art historians, so I’m likely pickier about whether a book on the topic is truly anything new or not.

For the most part Efa’s art is satisfying . It beautifully mimics the Impressionist style (though the facial closeups are kind of cringey), and thus feels evocative and fitting for the subject.
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Thank you to @europecomics @netgalley for the ARC in return for my honest review. 
My thoughts…
Beautifully illustrated. I do enjoy and value impressionist paintings and was very much hoping I’d enjoy this graphic novel. I did! This was a beautifully illustrated graphic novel, keeping with the movement of the artists. It was a great way to share an overview of Degas and Cassatt, the history of the Impressionist Movement and Degas’ painting of ballet dancers and prostitutes. And, I found out that Rubio has a graphic novel on Monet too, which I plan to get. 
“Founder of the Impressionist movement of which he was one of the most merciless critics, too bohemian for the bourgeois and too bourgeois for the artists, Edgar Degas was a man of many paradoxes. A loner, he loved only one woman without ever courting her. Looking into this unique relationship at the twilight of Degas’ life, Efa and Rubio open the pages of the artist’s notebooks hoping to unravel the mystery of this genius full of contradictions.”
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A decently interesting story coupled with very beautiful illustrations. Not something I would normally go out of my way to read, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. If Degas is an interest to you, it's worth checking out!
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An interesting look at the relationship between Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt. 

I picked out this book (which I read courtesy of NetGalley) because I was interested to see how a graphic novel would handle the biography of an artist. It is told from the viewpoint of Mary Cassatt but is not wholly about the interactions between the two artists. Instead it is about Degas’ interactions with art. The drawings do not attempt to recreate Degas’ art exactly, but perhaps ironically give an impression of them. Also the colour palette used seems to reflect his paintings. 

I found this book a very good way to get an overview of his work, the images highlight aspects of his approach which might not have come across so well with just words. I would look out for other graphic novels by this author and artist, and I believe they already have one out on Monet.
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I hadn't known what to expect with this graphic novel - I am not particularly interested in E. Degas and was never very touched by his work. I have seen impressionists in museums, but I usually dissociate artists from their work, as I like art but not necessarily the person behind those works. I had no idea he was far from embarrassing the bohemian lifestyle, that he did not condone the prostitution of the ballerinas, rampant at the time, and was a mystery to many. I hadn't known Cassatt at all and so I went quite blind into this work. 
And I am incredibly glad that I took the leap. The illustrations are charming, obviously imitating the style of the time, and the story just fascinated me. All seems to point that Degas and Cassatt were both asexual. Just how rare is a platonic romance in fiction? Or none fiction?
There is such little asexual representation and known historical figures, this is refreshing and I am so happy the authors took the chance and told their story. thank you. 
This is obviously a very researched work - I am sure the authors spent a very very long time pouring over books to get everything right and include all those easter eggs. If you love Degas, the Impressionists, biographies or want to read about an asexual figure, I highly recommend this graphic novel.
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Thanks to Netgalley and Europe Comics for the ARC of this graphic novel.

This is a unique graphic novel, as the illustrations are in the style of Edgar Degas pantings, which helps emphasise the mood and atmosphere of Degas life, which I think was lonely and dark. This is a story of the interesting relationship between Degas and Cassett. 

This graphic novel has different points of view it has; Degas developing his style and finding his muse. It explains about the Impressionist Movement and how it got its name. There is also the point of view of Mary Cassett and what it was like being a female artist in the late 1800's.

I found it fascinating the way Degas decided to paint ballet dancers, he wanted to capture their grace and power. He also painted prostitutes, but he didn't see them as that, as he wanted to paint them in an elegant way. Degas wanted his art style to be different to anyone else's and show the viewer a true depiction of the people. 
Degas was so blind-sighted by art, he truly dedicated his life to art and painting to the point he denied himself of love and a family, or anything he would consider a distraction which i found quite sad as he only found joy in painting and refused to find it anywhere else. When Mary came along she fell in love with Degas but Degas was in denial about this.

He truly does do the dance of solitude.

I highly recommend this for anyone interested in Art or the Impressionist Movement or French art or are fans of Degas. I will say there are some adult nudity scenes so just be careful as there is no warning. Not suitable for young ones who are interested in art.
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Thanks to NetGalley, for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
The story of Edgas Degas, a French artist. This was an okay read to me particularly because I liked his relationship with Mary Cassatt.
The illustrations were lovely and looked like oil paintings.
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This is a graphic novel about Edgar Degas and his contemporaries, including his friendship with Mary Cassat (whom I discovered thanks to this book). Such an interesting book about impressionism and the illustrations were simply gorgeous! The biographies of both Degas and Mary Cassatt were super interesting to read and so informative! Degas has been one of my favourite painters since I can remember and I adore his ballerinas. I did not know any of Mary Cassatt's artworks but they are so beautiful too.

ps: why is this book not on goodreads? or at least I was unable to find it.
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Edgar Degas was a French artist famous for his pastel oil paintings of mostly women and ballerinas. He is a founder of impressionism, but he didn’t like to be called an impressionist painter. This graphic novel tells the story of his relationship with painter Mary Cassatt. They had similar tastes and views on art. They were both single, independent, and never married. This graphic novel depicts Degas as a pretty unusual and grumpy character, which he was.

Art is very beautiful. Illustrations are impressionistic and look like Degas’s oil paintings.

The plot can be slow sometimes, but I think those who appreciate art will like this look at Degas’s life.

Thanks to Europe Comics for the ARC and this opportunity! This is a voluntary review, and all opinions are my own.
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An interesting look, accompanied by evocative art, at the relationship between Edgar Degas and Mary Cassatt. This book wasn't for me. I appreciated all of the information, but the dialogue and narration felt overly expository in a way that made it a bit of a bumpy read. I understand why it was there, but I think the amount of nudity was excessive for classroom use. The ending also felt bizarre--I wasn't sure why the narrative didn't end where the opening pages suggested it would. The additional pages just felt like a very strange epilogue and a chance for more nudity without furthering the plot. I was sorry I didn't like it more, because I did think the concept was great. However, the book hammered home the fact that Degas was a terrible person so effectively on every page, that it was hard to stick with him for one life episode after the next.
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This book is a lovely work of art, apart from being an interesting biography of sorts, of both Degas and Mary Cassatt. The panels are drawn in a beautiful Impressionistic style, with several paying homage to great works of art. I learnt quite a lot about the various factions( such as they were) of art in  the late 19th Century, and what they believed in, and Degas' part in uniting them against the rigid Salon des Beaux Artes. I didn't know much about Mary Cassatt, and her close friendship with Degas, and she isn't depicted merely as a sidekick- she led a full and complete life, and her paintings depicting mothers and children are not shown to stem from similar desires herself, she was perfectly happy with her life as an artist. Degas was a complicated ,rather unpleasant man, and this work isn't a hagiography, it's meant to show him as a person,and how he evolved his unique style. Fascinating read, and a labour of love clearly, with each panel a glowing work of art
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I received eARC through NetGalley for review purposes - thank you so much for making this available.

I am an artist and interested in Degas and Cassatt, which led to checking out this title, without realizing this is a graphic novel and not an art history book.  My rating is reflective of my lack of interest for English graphic novels, which is no fault to the author or publisher - I just wasn't right target (apology to follow)
The artwork is done in a similar pastel style that was used by Degas and Cassatt, which was enjoyable.  The story seems to be heavy-handed, darkly imaginative and dramatic and didn't particularly appeal to me.

One might enjoy this if there is an interest in art history and enjoy graphic novels.  I only fit for the first part, that is all.  This was all my fault though, and I will be more careful in choosing ARC next time and not just jump into it by the title alone.
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