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.

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

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Picturing a World

Ancher’s blue room

May 5, 2014

Tags: Ancher, Jeanette, rooms, women artists, Scandinavian artists

Although a little girl is, in fact, shown sitting on a chair in this painting, it was one of the pictures I had in mind when I invented Jeanette’s interest in rooms as “portraits without people.” Anna Ancher, an almost exact contemporary of Jeanette, has treated the child as part of a pattern that emphasizes sunlight rather than focusing attention on her. The key picture in my devising Jeanette’s genre was probably Adolph Menzel’s The Balcony Room, but it is more fun to call attention lesser known women artists.

For more of Ancher’s work—including a couple of genuinely empty rooms—click here.

A World Apart: Anna Ancher and the Skagen Art Colony was a show in 2013 that I wish I had seen. The website includes links to several of its own blog posts with informative essays, including one on Gendered Interiors.