In 1864, a year after the death of Eugène Delacroix, Alexandre Dumas recounted the memories that marked his friendship with the great painter. From one anecdote to the next, Dumas' text reveals the personality of both painter and writer. All the while, a colorful portrait of the period takes shape; a period in which works of art are subject to fiery debates, intense admiration, and irrevocable rejection. With humor and passion, Catherine Meurisse invites herself into this very personal adaptation of Dumas' tribute to his friend.
In the aftermath of the murderous attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7, 2015, cartoonist Catherine Meurisse struggles with the trauma of losing her friends and looks for a way to move forward with her life and her art. She soon enters a dissociative state where she loses her memories, especially those associated with esthetic experiences. This leads her on a quest to seek beauty and lightness in the world around her with the help of guiding lights including Proust, Stendhal, Baudelaire, and two provocative graffiti artists. Throughout the book, Meurisse uses her limber cartooning and dynamic writing to weave a tapestry of raw emotion and philosophical reflection laced with a strain of wry humor.
"Girls, living in the country will be your chance," her parents tell her. And so Catherine Meurisse spends her childhood outdoors. Construction all around her: an old farmhouse renovated into a home, trees planted, a garden created, dreams cultivated. They dig, they graft, they plant a rosebush "adopted" from Montaigne, a fig tree from Rabelais. They observe the tumult of the outside world: new developments in industrial agriculture, the citification of rural France... With her characteristic humor, Catherine Meurisse has composed a witty poem dedicated to the countryside where her vocation as an artist first took form. The Great Outdoors, like Lightness, her previous album, is a testament to her conviction that nature and art -everything that grows, everything that lives against all opposition- always offer us a chance.
Catherine Meurisse once again draws upon her memories. Her stay in a far-off, strange-yet-familiar land, at the Japanese villa Kujoyama in 2018, provides the artist another opportunity to pursue her creative quest, this time where the West and Far East meet. In the manner of Lewis Carroll, the young artist lets characters out of legend lead her through pictorial landscapes. Imagination and dialogue are key to penetrating the secrets of this strange territory and discovering why the young explorer finds it so fascinating. This Alice daydreams and wonders, returning every now and then to reality and nature, that dynamic dictator of events and situations. After The Great Outdoors, Catherine Meurisse continues her pursuit of beauty in an unknown land, between mountain and sea, illustrating landscapes that reflect the seasons and the artist's progress. Truly splendid!