Katherine Keenum


A blog about how paintings, photographs, and prints have helped me visualize my fiction—both Where the Light Falls and works-in-progress—with a hope that they will stimulate other writers and readers, too.

A small sample of the images that inspired me appears below. Click on these or any images in the posts to see enlargements. In the text, click on colored words to activate links.


















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An American woman art student meets a Civil War veteran in Belle Époque Paris.

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Abbéma panels at Félix

July 16, 2018

Tags: Bernhardt, Croizette, fashion or clothes, women artists

What fun! An article, Paris Dressmakers, in the December 1894 issue of Strand Magazine reports on the fashion salon of the couturier known as M. Félix: “A gallery leading from the first salon to a second has four large panels, painted by Louise Abbéma, representing Sarah Bernhardt in ‘Ruy Blas,’ Croizette in the ‘Caprices of Marianne,’ Ada Rehan in the ‘School for Scandal,’ and a fancy costume of the period of Louis XV.”

I can't be sure that the panels in this illustration from the magazine are the ones by Louise Abbéma, but I think so. And what a way to tie together women artists, fashion, and two actresses (Bernhardt and Croizette) who appear in Where the Light Falls—a kind of after-the-fact research rapture!

I found mention of the Strand article in the 2016 catalogue for Degas, Impressionism, and the Paris Millinery Trade, which is currently on sale for a reduced price here.