Gauguin: The Other World TP
Publisher: SelfMade Hero
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Price: $19.95
Creator: Fabrizio Dori
Format: 144 pgs., Full-Color, 6-1/2" x 9-1/2”, Trade Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-9105-9327-1
Age Rating: N/A
ICv2 Rating: 3.5 Stars out of 5

This book is part of the ongoing series of artist graphic biographies coming from SelfMade Hero.  As such, it will appeal to libraries and places where graphic non-fiction is popular, but it has weaknesses.

Gauguin, himself, is one of those weaknesses.  As portrayed, he was a talented jerk who kept running away from everything, including himself.  Did that inform his art, or did that personality trait hold it back?  From this biography, we don’t know.  In fact, by the end the reader still knows only a little of what made him tick, and almost nothing of why people would eventually like his artwork, largely despised during his life.  Was it because back then, people knew the man, rather than just his art?  Perhaps there is something more, and that something is not conveyed in this story.  As it stands, the reader is left wanting greater insights into the motivations for some frankly odd decisions and destructive actions.

The artwork of the book is actually a strong point, in that it reminds the reader of Gauguin’s style and color palette from his Tahiti period without being a slavish imitation of his artwork, although there are pointed homages here and there, as well as scenes firmly based on his paintings.

While probably suitable for older teens, the main audience is adults.

--Nick Smith: Library Technician, Community Services, for the Pasadena Public Library in California.