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.

Selected Works

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


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Croizette and Bernhardt

October 31, 2013

Tags: Bernhardt, Croizette, entertainment, garden party

One of the better readers of my manuscript objected to having the two actresses appear at the garden party (too hokey), but I thought a little razzle-dazzle was called for. Besides, don’t we all get a kick out of a celebrity cameo appearance?

When I began my research, Sophie Croizette was discovery for me. She was Pauline Carolus-Duran’s sister and Bernhardt’s biggest rival until she left the stage to marry a banker. She was an engaging personality, sensual and big-hearted. Her motto, Quand même, might be translated as “All the same” or “Nevertheless.” Imagine it spoken with a sly, tolerant twinkle in her eye.

As for the Divine Sarah Bernhardt, someone asked me whether she dressed as exotically as I said she did, and the simple answer is, yes. Much has been written about her for good reason. Her motto was À outrance or “To the hilt,” “Over the top.” For a portrait that catches some of her skinny exoticism, click here. And for another side of her personality, ca. 1877, click here.