As soon as there was photography, there were erotic photographs. I’ve written before about art historian Beatrice Farwell’s theory that Félix-Jacques-Antoine Moulin photographed Victorine Meurent in 1852. The date doesn’t fit with other information we have about Meurent, but the photos Farwell used to support her argument (found in the Bibliothèque nationale de France) still fascinate […]

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 […]

I have a secret. Ever since I received the advance copies of Paris Red last month, I’ve been carrying one with me everywhere I go. I don’t mean that I show it to everyone (though I have shared it with friends), I just mean that I always have a copy in my bag. I guess […]

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. […]

Sometimes I wonder how a person like me came to write a novel about Victorine Meurent and Édouard Manet. I live in a meadow and see more wildlife than I do museums. I wear jeans every day, and belts with big, rhinestone buckles. (See above.) Though I lived in NYC from 1980 – 1987 and […]

Paris Red will be published by W. W. Norton in the U.S. in April 2015. Right now that seems like a long wait, but I know it isn’t, not in the world of publishing. In one very important way, it is also an ideal time for the book to come out because Spring 2015 marks […]

Researching Paris Red, I read widely about subjects directly and tangentially related to Victorine Meurent and Édouard Manet. Susan Chitty’s book about English artist Gwen John was both helpful and beautifully written. And let me declare here that almost everything I know about Gwen John I learned from Chitty’s Gwen John: 1876-1939. Before I read this […]

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 […]

Victorine Meurent is best known as Manet’s famous model, but she was also an artist. She exhibited work at the Académie des Beaux-Arts, but the only painting of hers that is known to exist today is the work above, Le jour des rameaux, or Palm Sunday. That simple paragraph might not seem to contain revolutionary […]