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Showing posts from August, 2014

Toulouse-Lautrec's Jane Avril (La Melinite) French, 1868-1943

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I recently visited Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in NYC and happened upon their exhibit about Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. I am not a major fan of his paintings, am familiar with some, was fascinated with his muse, Jane Avril. She was everywhere! Unfortunately, I could not find much about her life and a few photographs survive. So, here is the real woman behind the man.


A review of Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland

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In 1937, young Lisette Roux and her husband, André, move from Paris to a village in Provence to care for André’s grandfather Pascal. Lisette regrets having to give up her dream of becoming a gallery apprentice and longs for the comforts and sophistication of Paris. But as she soon discovers, the hilltop town is rich with unexpected pleasures.

Pascal once worked in the nearby ochre mines and later became a pigment salesman and frame maker; while selling his pigments in Paris, he befriended Pissarro and Cézanne, some of whose paintings he received in trade for his frames. Pascal begins to tutor Lisette in both art and life, allowing her to see his small collection of paintings and the Provençal landscape itself in a new light. Inspired by Pascal’s advice to “Do the important things first,” Lisette begins a list of vows to herself (#4. Learn what makes a painting great). When war breaks out, André goes off to the front, but not before hiding Pascal’s paintings to keep them …

Julia Margaret Cameron discovered at MOMA!

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So, there I was with a free pass in hand for MOMA- (The Museum of Modern Art) -- (thank you Debbie) walking through this beautiful building with a friend of mine in search of Frida Kahlo and Pablo Picasso paintings. I have seen the Van Gogh's though another excuse to gaze upon perfection is always required. My friend wanted to see the Monet's which are spectacular. Two of his wall canvases of water lilies...beauty and perfection personified. Anyay, there we were walking floor by floor when we saw a photography exhibit featuring the work of Edward Steichen. I had to go in. Am I glad I did. In the first room sat two small photographs; sepia in color and soft in focus.  The first one I did not recognize but the second one I immediately did! My friend was talking away as we approached and I had to apologetically say, 'I'm sorry but I must look at those Cameron photos and I can't focus any longer on what you're saying'!  We laughed and those around us looked at …

Ma Jolie and El Diablo or a review of Madame Picasso by Anne Girard

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Eva Gouel (Marcelle Humbert)
Marcelle Humbert (1885-1915) came to Paris with fierce determination and starry eyed dreams of becoming a star. She was working at the Moulin Rouge hiding in the wings backstage sewing costumes for stage actresses during their performances. She longed for the spotlight and found it upon meeting Pablo Picasso. With him she became his third muse, lover, and the woman he truly wanted to marry. For it was with her that he found peace and faithfulness; at least for a little while! She became his ‘Ma jolie’ (my pretty one) in every sense of the word. Their affair began in 1911 until December 1915 upon her sudden death from Tuberculosis or cancer.
Within the pages of, ‘Madame Picasso’ Eva Gouel now stands in the spotlight out of the shadows of Moulin Rouge and into Pablo’s studio. She walks off his canvas radiating energy, youth and innocence coming to life with every word on every page. Author, Anne Girard stays loyal to Pablo Picasso’s life as a womanizer an…

Upcoming Reviews 2014:

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There will be two novels with similar themes released in the U.S. on August 26th, 2014. I will be reviewing both here.  I am currently reading the early review copies!  The UK publishing date is September 1, 2014 for Madame Picasso. Lisette's List by Susan Vreeland will be released on August 26th in the U.K. as well. Come back again to check out the following:

Novelist Anne Girard brings to life the mesmerizing and untold story of Eva Gouel, the unforgettable woman who stole the heart of the greatest artist of our time.

When Eva Gouel moves to Paris from the countryside, she is full of ambition and dreams of stardom. Though young and inexperienced, she manages to find work as a costumer at the famous Moulin Rouge, and it is here that she first catches the attention of Pablo Picasso, a rising star in the art world.

A brilliant but eccentric artist, Picasso sets his sights on Eva, and Eva can't help but be drawn into his web. But what starts as a torrid affair soon evolves …

Elsie Leslie (August 14, 1881-October 31, 1966)

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Elsie Leslie by female photographer Zaida Ben-Yusuf, Platinum print, 1899
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Two reviews in one: Rossetti and Victorian and deviant sex -- seems appropriate!

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Poor Splendid Wings The Rossettis and their Circle by Frances Winwar 1933, Little Brown and Company
I bought this on a whim because I thought it would be an interesting take on The Rossettis.  Well, not so much about them or him as a chapter by chapter mini-biography on EVERY Pre-Raphaelite painter and artist to have ever met! Seriously, it begins with one of my favorite's Millais before Effie and after!  Swinburne gets a chapter focus, The Rossetti Family get a few chapters which is interesting reading but Burne-Jones receives some mentions artistically mainly as being enamored by and with Rossetti himself. He is made to look like  a soppy fangirl following DGR around London like a lost puppy and maybe he was. However, by 1933, I believe the focus should have been of an artistic one instead!  
Rossetti's paintings are covered thematically by chapter including summarisations on his poetry which is fascinating reading but this is a dated novel of types that in present day can …

My review of The Gordian Knot by Kevin Marsh

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Twelve months has passed since the traumatic events that almost claimed her life and Dr Orlagh Gairne is looking forward to a well-earned holiday. With her partner, Jerry, they jet off for the Aegean coast where they plan to make the most of the Mediterranean sun and visit the ancient sites of Anatolia. The Phoenix Legion, still reeling from a humiliating defeat, have re-grouped and are now planning the next phase of their quest. They are in possession of the Belgae Torc, but this is not enough to ensure total power so they must rely on the druids and their connection with the spirit world. Whilst searching for treasure in the Sea of Azov, Jack Harrington and his team make an unexpected discovery and with the past merging with the present are unable to avoid being drawn in to another deadly battle. The Belgae Torc, Jack Harrington and The Phoenix Legion are far from her thoughts, but as Orlagh enjoys her holiday with the man she loves, these forces come together. Will she manage…