Graphic Novel Review: Eileen Gray: A House Under the Sun by Charlotte Malterre-Barthes & Zosia Dzierzawska
Posted on January 16, 2020 at 10:36 am by Gene Ambaum
Eileen Gray: A House Under the Sun by Charlotte Malterre-Barthes & Zosia Dzierzawska. Nobrow, 2019. 9781910620434. 155pp. including biographies of everyone involved and a bibliography.
Eileen Gray was an artist, designer, and the architect best known for the now-famous house she created for her lover, architect Jean Badovici, on the coast in the South of France in the 1920s and early 1930s. This graphic novel is a biographical sketch centered around her work on that house, known as E-1027. It also includes scenes of her childhood, of her studying lacquerwork, and of other friendships, but her relationship with Badovici is at the center of the narrative. It’s clear he doesn’t understand her, and that costs him their relationship after he allows another architect to ruin E-1027 for Gray.
I have a minor interest in architecture and had never heard of Gray. I picked up this book because everything Nobrow publishes deserves a look, and I’m so glad I did. This is one of the most stunning graphic novels I’ve seen in the last few years. I learned a little on my first read through, and I’ll learn more as I reread it over and over. The book is as beautiful as E-1027 must be, and now I’ve got to visit there sometime to see the building (now a historical monument) that inspired this book.