1866 closest

When I was in NYC, I spent time hanging out with Victorine. I just sat in the room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art where Young Lady in 1866 is hanging, looking at the painting and watching other people look at the painting. I particularly liked seeing this young woman looking at Victorine because she […]

Carolus-Duran's Portrait of Edouard Manet

Manet died a week ago today, on April 30, 1883. He was just 51 years old. I used the portrait Carolus-Duran painted of Manet at the top of this post because I like how Manet looks in it. Friend Antonin Proust described Manet as “ouverte et franche,” and I think this portrait shows that side […]

brooklyn9thsky2

This is where I lived in Brooklyn in 1987. I took the photo from the roof of 338 9th Street, looking downhill toward 5th Avenue. I used to lie on the roof of 338 on an old, flowered bedspread and stare up at the pink Brooklyn night sky. Sometimes I lay listening to the sound […]

By her lily white handcrop

This is a Julyan Davis painting called By Her Lily White Hand (On the Banks of the Ohio), 2012. It’s one of Davis’s murder ballad paintings, a┬áseries of “narrative paintings, setting traditional Appalachian music against the contemporary South.” In the song “On the Banks of the Ohio,” a man asks his love to take a […]

venice4.jpg

I began serious research on Paris Red in 2005. But my interest in Victorine Meurent and my connection to the material began much earlier. In 1986, I had a conversation with a friend about Olympia. He was studying art history, and we fell into talking about the painting one day in the dining room of […]

watercolorface

I’ve written before about the give-and-take between novelists and characters. I not only try to enter into the lives of my characters, but I also give them pieces of myself. Today I want to talk about this old watercolor painting I gave to Victorine: I painted it the summer I was sixteen. Not for any […]

muses2

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 […]