Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore, A Review

It was the blue of the biblical paintings, the only ones considered worthy of such a vibrant colour. In the beginning, that is.

A Comedy D'art involving Art, Artists, and the colour bleu. Is it possible that there may have been a conspiracy involving the expensive and hard to acquire 'bleu'? OR did it have supernatural properties? Here is one alternate history of the colour bleu by Christopher Moore. 

Sacré Bleu

Why is blue, especially the ultramarine blue purchased from the Colorman so special? Ultramarine, a blue that captivates and seems to control at times. Many artists know the Colorman and the Woman, even when they keep morphing to fit the era. . . Anyone who touches or inhales the fumes from the paint seems to suffer in some way - from time lapses to broken relationships, but to understand how you will need to read this quirky story which should appeal to anyone who likes art. The art world isn't so sacred that it can't be spoofed.

The Colorman character is a perverse, weird, rather repugnant type. He's been around for centuries. But the Woman, who usually accompanies him, can be what you want her to be, as long as you keep using the blue paint.  She can help make you famous, at a cost of course. 

This book is part mystery, part history (alternate based on reality), part love story and highly amusing. The main character, a young baker-painter Lucien, who is joined by the dapper and diminutive Henri Toulouse-Lautrec on an investigation to unravel the 'supposed suicide' of Vincent van Gogh. They also want to find the inspiration for the Sacré Bleu colour. What gives it the special qualities?

Appearing in this book are the artists who had transactions with the Colorman: Vincent Van Gogh, Édouard Manet, Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat, Claude Monet, Camille Pissarro and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. This is the cream of the Art world in the late 1800s. There are scenarios with each artist as Henri and Lucien try to track down the colour's paranormal qualities.

Sacré Bleu is Moore's irreverent look at the Art World, written in his usual style and highly entertaining to read. I enjoyed it and would recommend it. This book will make you think twice perhaps when you see the vibrant colour blue in a painting from now forward. I remember all the Biblical styled paintings I saw with that colour in the Louvre Museum in Paris.  Hmmm. It is a gorgeous blue. . .but the only one which makes you a better painter is from the Colorman.


Have you read any of Christopher Moore's writing? Have you ever read or been aware of this book, Sacré Bleu? Do you like humour overlapped with irreverence? 

Please leave a comment to let me know you were here and I'll respond. Thanks for dropping by!



Sacré Bleu - definition
A French expression of surprise, exasperation, or dismay. It is a very old fashioned French curse, which is rarely used by the French these days. Christopher Moore's site Info on the term 'Sacré Bleu'.