Paintings

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Still Life with Flowers by Severin Roesen

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Equestrienne (L’Amazone) by Amedeo Modigliani

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Chrysanthemums by Pablo Picasso

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Young Woman Reclining in Spanish Costume by Edouard Manet

What do these four paintings have in common? They were all painted between 1850 and 1900, were all made by Europeans, and are all oil on canvas. But that’s not what they have in common for me. All of these paintings appear in one way or another in my book. I’ve been frustratingly mum with details, so let me give you this: 14 paintings are stolen from Sotheby’s Paris, and the search to recover them leads our heroine into some interesting situations. I told you I had a thing for art heists. That she works in a gallery, for the wife of an artist who has connections to the thief, means she gets caught up in the mystery (and a potential romance, of course) fairly quickly. The magic for me has been writing the story of how each painting came to Sotheby’s in the first place, who brought them, how they came to acquire them, what each painting looked like. Early versions of these were among the missing paintings, save for the Modigliani; the first time Mirette meets Sylvie she likens her to the woman in the painting: alabaster skin and dark hair, her high, haughty cheekbones, and shrewd stare.

E.L. Doctorow said, “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” Did I know this was going to be the major plot line of the novel when I started? Absolutely not. Am I beyond thrilled this was waiting for me around the bend? Absolutely, yes.

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July 25, 2013 / art / photo / LEAVE A COMMENT / 24

24 comments

  • oh wow that really does take the story to another level, I had no idea. Very exciting indeed, can’t wait to read it :) xx

    • Thanks, girl! I’m pretty excited, too! xo

  • I’m totally intrigued by your book!!!

    • Thanks, Gloria! I hope it lives up to the hype whenever I finish it! xo

  • I want to read it.

    • That makes two of us ;) xo

  • yes! this was the kind of book i was hoping you would write someday and come to find out you are writing it right now! i am so extra excited (and i was pretty excited before but now i am freaking out). okay, so this weekend you don’t have any plans right? i mean besides writing? i just can’t wait to read it – not only am i happy and looking forward to seeing you fulfill your dream but i just think it sounds like such a good book. so when you are done can i get one of those early copies that they send to bookstores and reviewers? not to jump ahead or anything ;) xoxo

    ps i love the paintings you chose. the equestrienne is one of my favorites and still life with flowers gets me every time.

    • Oh you! Always so supportive and sweet!! I realized quickly into writing that I couldn’t sustain these characters without something bigger, and the art heist was just the natural progression. I’m in love. Of course you can get an advanced copy! I mean, we’re jumping the gun here a few steps, haha, but I promise you will read it one day. I think that might actually hold me accountable to finishing it, knowing I have a waiting audience! xo

  • I love this plot thus far and I’m so happy that you shared with us! Honestly, if your book doesn’t get published you’ll have to publish a few copies yourself so that I can read it! I completely understand how you describe driving in a fog, it seems the best things happen organically that way.

    • Oh definitely, I mean obviously the dream is a legitimate book deal but these days self-publishing is the way a lot of people are going! This book has to see the light of day somehow. That’s my goal :) xo

  • Still Life with Flowers has long been one of my favorites, so I’m much happy to see it here. And even happier to get these little doses of your novel.

    Way opening. That’s what’s happening for you, my dearest.

    • Roesen is such an underrated artist, it makes me sad that more people aren’t familiar with his work. Isn’t that one beautiful? I could stare at it all day. I’m thinking about one day getting as many paintings from my book as I can printed as postcards and framing them all. But of course, I have to finish the book first. xo

  • Oh how fun – you need to sneak us a preview sometime soon

    • I don’t know, I think the first time anyone besides me reads this it will have to be all at once. It’s such an exposing thing to do, I think I’m only brave enough to do it all at once, haha. Like being naked in public. Or something ;) xo

      • Awww okay :)

  • Oh I love it when you talk about your writing! It’s absolutely fascinating! I have never really known how people put books together, how much research goes into them, how it all starts out and how long it really takes (I know it varies from writer to writer but I love hearing your take on it). Also, I am already hooked on your book! x

    • Thanks, Meghan!! I can’t speak with too much authority on how a book is written, given that I’m sort of figuring it out as I go along and this is my first time, but I’m happy to share all the fun details! And the not-so-fun details. Like the times I sit down well-intentioned at my desk and end up staring at the screen for 3 hours, not typing a single word. Oy. xo

  • Can’t wait to read your book! I’m pre-ordering my signed copy :)

    • Noted!! I’ll have to work on my flourished signature ;) xo

  • I love that your book is taking on an art heist. How (unexpectedly) exciting! Still Life with Flowers is pretty spectacular with all its rich detail and color. At first glance, I mistakenly thought it was the same painting that, upon closer inspection, you can see bugs and caterpillars eating the leaves. (Does that sound familiar? One day, I’ll remember the artist’s name and/or the title of the painting.) Anyway, I’m very happy about this direction. It makes perfect sense. ;)

    • It sounds familiar but I cannot think of it! Let me do some researching and I’ll get back to you. Still Life with Flowers is gorgeous, isn’t it? Check out Roesen’s other paintings, they’re equally as beautiful.
      Thank you for the encouragement, T!! That means a lot. xo

  • […] understanding if I knifed someone than touched a canvas) but the textures are sublime. And that Picasso chrysthanthemums painting is still on my […]

  • Oh Erin this sounds fascinating!!!

    • :D Happy you’re intrigued, Santa!! xo