In one scene in Paris Red, Victorine thinks of all the flowers she can to pass the time as she poses for Manet. As she makes a list of posies in her mind, she also thinks about how the next day will be Sunday, the day when the bird sellers also come to the flower […]

I couldn’t find boots that were exactly like the ones I picture Victorine wearing in Paris Red, so I bought these teal suede ones. In the novel, Victorine gets her green boots from one of the prostitutes her mother sews for. She’s still a girl when she receives the gift, but she keeps the boots […]

This is another of my shabby photos from 1983, taken at the corner of rue de Seine and rue Jacques Callot. It shows the restaurant La Palette and a bit of the outside of Galerie Lara Vincy when the artist Ben (Ben Vautier) covered the outside of the gallery with colored writing for his Boîtes et […]

Kirkus just reviewed Paris Red and said some wonderful things: “Manet’s muse ponders color, power, sex and love in vibrant 1860s Paris…Gibbon writes in a rather fragmented style, with short chapters…the overall effect is lyrical and fits the shabbily gorgeous Parisian setting. Fans of art history, Paris and contemporary Künstleroman like Girl With a Pearl Earring […]

This is another collage I made from a 1908 postcard I found of Mlle Rochet, a young dancer and performer. In this card, someone has tinted her shoes a brighter blue than in postcard #1, and they’ve given her a candy-pink body stocking. I love the thoughtful, unsmiling expression on her face, and I love […]

The postcard at the top of this post has nothing to do with Manet or Victorine Meurent. It’s a French postcard featuring a young dancer or performer named Mademoiselle Rochet, but it’s from 1908—nearly 50 years after Victorine began posing for Manet. Nevertheless, the postcard helped me find my way to Victorine in Paris Red. […]

Last night I fell asleep reading historian and flâneur Richard Cobb’s Paris and Elsewhere. I woke up the morning with the book still in the sheets. I found out about Richard Cobb in 1988 or so when I checked The Streets of Paris out of the University of Iowa library. The book is a collaboration […]