I don’t know if I would have been able to write the story of Victorine Meurent without the work of another artist—and I don’t just mean Manet, the man who painted her over and over. I mean that without the photos of Charles Marville, or Charles François Bossu, I would have had much more difficulty imagining […]

The photograph above was taken by Félix-Jacques Antoine Moulin in 1852 and is in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF). Art historian Beatrice Farwell believes the woman in the photo is Manet’s model, Victorine Meurent. Here’s another of Moulin’s photos of the woman Farwell believes is Meurent: In Farwell’s 1981 dissertation Manet and the Nude, a Study in […]


Above, corset from the Metropolitan Museum at FIT. Red wool, silk, steel and whalebone, circa 1880. So, not strictly from Victorine’s time of posing for Manet, but close.

Do you see the resemblance that I see?  Or am I just in love? How about this: Each age has its own muse—or maybe she keeps coming back.  What do you think? All I know for certain is that I love these two women, and am moved by their images and their lives.

This is the kind of corset Victorine might have worn in 1862.  The image comes from the Metropolitan Museum costume collection. It also appears to be the style of corset depicted in Manet’s 1878 pastel drawing “Woman Fastening Her Garter.” Or maybe the drawing shows something more like this corset: Victorine Meurent wouldn’t have had money for an […]

A snapshot from my old room in Paris, on Boulevard Auguste-Blanqui.  Every morning when I got up, I looked out from the terrace to see the Suze sign.  I just loved seeing it. That’s what gave me the idea for the details of this scene from Paris Red, where Victorine looks out the window of her new room: “There’s […]

The postcard probably dates from around 1910, but I include it anyway. I refer to the idea of “the language of hair” in Paris Red, though in a different format. Redheads are cunning coquettes, while brunettes are discreet and faithful.  Hmm.

It’s just a label from a box of candles, I know.  But for me it turned into an artifact of Victorine Meurent’s life. I imagined it in her room, at her bedside.  It was another detail that brought me into her days and nights. Victorine was Manet’s favorite, his “modèle de predilection.”  And she was brilliant […]

“That day I am seventeen and I am wearing the green boots of a whore.” ~ Victorine Meurent in Paris Red