Katherine Keenum


A blog about the paintings, photographs, and prints that help me visualize my fiction—both Where the Light Falls and works-in-progress. My main current project is a novel tentatively entitled ANONYMITY. Its heroine works in publishing, belongs to a clandestine suffragist group, and has a married lover. Read on!

Click on images to see enlargements. In the text, click on words in color to activate links.

Selected Works

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

Tags

Quick Links

Find Authors

Picturing a World

Wallace water fountains

July 10, 2014

Tags: Franco-Prussian War, Paris landmark

Writers of historical fiction are susceptible to what someone called “research rapture,” elation over trivia. It may be just as well that I did not know about Wallace water fountains when I wrote Where the Light Falls or I might have gleefully included one whether it was needed or not.

A recent BBC piece on impoverished Britons in France alerted me to the existence of these public drinking fountains. (more…)

On horseback, in pants

May 15, 2014

Tags: Dieulafoy, Franco-Prussian War, Gardner, Tarbell, fashion or clothes, horses, work-in-progress

For my work-in-progress, I’ve been reading the autobiography of journalist Ida M. Tarbell, All in the Day’s Work. In 1892 for a McClure’s Magazine article, Tarbell interviewed the French archeologist and writer Jane Henriette Magre Dieulafoy, who with her husband Marcel worked on excavations in Persia. (more…)

Corpse of Henri Régnault

January 16, 2014

Tags: Carolus-Duran, Edward, Franco-Prussian War, Manet, Meissonier, Regnault

One more item that lay behind Edward and Carolus-Duran’s conversation about their two wars. Emile Zola said that Carolus-Duran made Edouard Manet (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.

Palace ruins

January 9, 2014

Tags: Carolus-Duran, Edward, Franco-Prussian War, Meissonier, Paris landmark, Tuileries

The American Civil War (1861-1865) has deeply affected the psyches of Cousin Effie and Edward; and as soon as I learned in my background reading that Carolus-Duran fought in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), I knew a shared experience of war could be an overt point of contact between him and Edward. (more…)

World's Fair (I): Glass

April 1, 2013

Tags: Effie, Franco-Prussian War, Paris landmark, World's Fair, entertainment, glass

The World's Fair of 1878, or Exposition Universelle, was held to celebrate France's prosperous return to the world stage seven years after the Franco-Prussian War. It was big, it was grand, it was modern. The glass-and-steel domes of the Main Exhibition Hall may look old-fashioned to our eyes, but it is still impressive for its airy joie de vivre. If you click on the image to the left, a link will take you to a French site with photos chronicling its construction. And, no, this isn't an April Fool's Day joke!

Ambassadeurs in the Champs-Élysées

March 25, 2013

Tags: Champs-Élysées, Edward, Franco-Prussian War, Paris landmark, Renoir

After the Renicks' dinner party, Edward escorts Jeanette and Effie home then joins the rest of his family at a café-chansant, Les Ambassadeurs. In Renoir's Champs-Élysées, it is the building on the right. It was surrounded by its own gardens where gaslights on single posts and on tiers among the trees were part of the magical atmosphere. Acts were performed on an elaborate outdoor stage with the additional trees of the park deepening the leafy background. (more…)

Beggar's Polka

March 21, 2013

Tags: Franco-Prussian War, Grandcourt, Jeanette, entertainment, caricature

Hippolyte Grandcourt is a wholly imaginary character whose presence enabled me to incorporate anecdotes about Paris beyond the action of the novel. Don't rely on him to tell the exact truth; don't even rely on him for anecdotes that exactly replicate my sources. He was not, for instance, present when Offenbach handed the mendicant his Beggar's Polka.

The music of Jacques Offenbach is specially associated with the Second Empire of Napoleon III—he's the composer of the Galop Infernal (1858) that we all know as the music to the can-can. (more…)