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

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

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Picturing a World

Teacher and pupil

June 28, 2018

Tags: Bracquemond, marriage, teachers, women artists

It has to be said of Félix Bracquemond, that although he was a domestic tyrant who stymied his wife’s career in the end, he also taught her well. Best known now for his etchings, he taught her printmaking techniques which she put to exquisite use as in this portrait of her sister, Louise Quivoron. There is no reason to deny that men have cramped women’s careers, but it might be an interesting challenge to write a novel about a marriage that simultaneously expands a woman’s capacities while constraining her ability to pursue an independent career. And what would her sister be like? What would be her role?

Marie Bracquemond and touch

June 9, 2018

Tags: Bracquemond, gardens, women artists

As I said in my previous post, Marie Bracquemond’s husband, Félix, hurt as well as helped her artistically. Although they both exhibited at one or more of the eight Impressionist shows, she was, in fact, more receptive to the new esthetic than he was; and his criticisms could be choleric. He also (more…)

Happy artistic marriage

June 7, 2018

Tags: Ancher, Bracquemond, Scandinavian artists, marriage, teachers, women artists

At last! A woman artist who was not squelched by her husband, but treated as an equal. This painting depicts Anna Ancher and her husband, Michael Ancher, thoughtfully absorbed in critiquing a canvas together. (more…)

Marie Bracquemond’s umbrella

June 4, 2018

Tags: Bracquemond, fashion or clothes, umbrella

I am posting this largely because I think it’s gorgeous. As a teenager, Marie Bracquemond studied with Ingres and she learned etching from her husband, Félix Bracquemond. The elegance of her line no doubt reflects her training, but her use of color and (more…)

Marie Bracquemond at her easel

July 28, 2014

Tags: Bracquemond, Dammouse, women artists

I only recently found Dammouse’s pastel of Marie Braqemond at the Galerie Ary Jan in Paris (where it sold). The picture feels like reentering Jeanette’s world, and so it’s a good place to begin running through Where the Light Falls again, more or less chronologically.

My first ever post showed three women artists in a studio. Because I love novels in which I share friendships vicariously, Jeanette’s time with Amy, Emily, and Sonja was always a major theme for me. Another was the seriousness with which women artists worked in the 19th C—a dedication that seems evident in this image. (more…)

Women, art, and marriage

June 23, 2014

Tags: Académie Julian, Bracquemond, Carolus-Duran, Cassatt, Gonzalés, Morisot, marriage, women artists

When Amy Richardson and Louise Steadman confront Jeanette with the need to choose between art and love, they remind her of Marie Bracquemond and Berthe Morisot, whose opportunities to show were sadly curtailed by marriage. They also point out that Mary Cassatt knew better than to get married. For a well illustrated post on (more…)

Résistance

January 13, 2014

Tags: Bracquemond, Carolus-Duran, Franco-Prussian War

Given the weather in most of the country this January, Carolus-Duran’s plunge into snowy memories during his summertime walk with Edward in the Tuileries Garden makes for a timely post. The painter really did assist his friend, Alexandre Falguière, build a snow sculpture at Bastion 84 on the southern wall of Paris during the Franco-Prussian War, and so I could have him recount the incident to Edward when they discussed their respective wars.

For Bracquemond’s etching of Bastion 84, click here.

For an amusing film clip of a snowball fight in 1896, click here.