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.

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Picturing a World

Calm waters

March 17, 2017

Tags: Charlie Post, Dusseldorf, Scandinavian artists

Surfing on the net (not the sea!) landed me yesterday at a sale at Christie’s, where this painting was up for auction. It’s just the sort of thing I had in mind for Charlie Post’s obsessively pursued subject of sea, horizon, and shore. (more…)

Fanny Brate—Another one lost to marriage

February 8, 2017

Tags: plein air, Scandinavian artists, schools, women artists

In Where the Light Falls, Amy points out bitterly to Jeanette that marriage means the end of a woman’s career in art. So it was for Fanny Brate (1861–1940), a Swedish painter who entered the Royal Swedish Academy of Art in 1880 and (more…)

Florence Fuller

August 29, 2016

Tags: Académie Julian, women artists, Scandinavian artists

Terri Windling’s Myth & Moor is a great source of inspiration for writers, readers, and lovers of images related to the mythopoeia. Her August 26th post on Children, reading, and Tough Magic is trove of pictures of children reading and quotations on the value of fantasy stories. It also brought my attention another of Jeanette’s younger contemporaries who studied at the Académie Julian—Florence Fuller (1867–1946). Born in South Africa, Fuller is classed as an Australian artist; for although she studied in Paris and spent time in England and India, she grew up in Australia and her most productive years were spent there. Her work is collected primarily in Australian museums. In 1905, she became a Theosophist, a reminder to me that the occult was a part of the world around my heroines Jeanette and Mattie (though not, I think, of much interest to either of them).

Children in the Luxembourg Garden

July 30, 2016

Tags: Edelfelt, Scandinavian artists, Paris landmark, fashion or clothes

A post on Children in the Summer Park at the blog, It’s About Time, alerted me to a painting I’ve been searching for without being able to remember the artist’s name—Albert Edelfelt. Itwas this painting that first gave me the idea (more…)

Harriet Backer

April 29, 2016

Tags: Scandinavian artists, women artists, rooms

Website tipBlue Interior by artist Harriet Backer is featured on today’s Lines and Colors. I have shown here another of her interiors, a Breton kitchen, that I wish I had known when I was writing Where the Light Falls. Not only does it illustrate the Gernagans’ kitchen, it fits perfectly with Jeanette’s motif of rooms as “portraits without people.”

Kay Nielsen

February 11, 2016

Tags: illustration, Scandinavian artists

Having recently bought the gorgeous 2015 Taschen reprint of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, I was much interested to come across an on-line version of the original. It confirms (more…)

Studio party

January 22, 2015

Tags: Beaux, Scandinavian artists, Salon, studio

This engraving of Gunnar Berndston's depiction of a Shrove Tuesday pancake supper appears in The Illustrated Catalogue of the Paris Salon for 1882. Such an engraved image might seem inadequate to eyes accustomed to photographic reproduction, yet turning the pages of the Salon catalogues in the research library of The Clark was a wonderful way to grasp the scope of the annual exhibitions. To see what I mean, click here for the next year's catalogue

In the 1882 catalogue, a few pictures seemed to leap out illustratively for Where the Light Falls. This one reminded me of (more…)

Hat for Jeanette?

January 17, 2015

Tags: Jeanette, Scandinavian artists, fashion or clothes

Blog tip: Click here for one of several recent posts on hats at It’s About Time. Liljelund’s young woman (and her bangs) caught my eye because she reminds me of Jeanette, who loves clothes but needs to develop a fashion sense.

Wish I'd seen Bauck in time

January 15, 2015

Tags: Bauck, Wegmann, Scandinavian artists, women artists

It is gratifying to run across paintings (like Vollon’s Mound of Butter) that seem to jump right out of the world of my novel, but here’s one I wish I had seen while I was writing. What an engaging gaze!

The subject of Danish artist Bertha Wegmann’s portrait’—the Swedish-born Jeanna Bauck (1840–1926)—would have been Edward's contemporary (more…)

Black hats

January 5, 2015

Tags: Carlsson-Bredberg, Hale, Scandinavian artists, fashion or clothes, women artists

(l) Ellen Day Hale, Self-Portrait (1885); (r) Mina Carlsson-Bredberg, Study, Académie Julian
After I saw Manet’s Woman Reading, I came across these two pictures, both by students in the 1880’s, both of women with the same sort of bangs and ears showing, each wearing a soft-crowned black hat. Could they be the same student?!? (more…)

Elsa Beskow

December 11, 2014

Tags: Christmas, children's books, illustration, Scandinavian artists, women artists

Several interests came together for me when I came across Swedish artist, Elsa Beskow (1874–1953)—Jeanette’s future career as an illustrator; my new heroine Mattie’s work in juvenile book publishing; women’s rights; and Scandinavian women artists. As a Christmas present to (more…)

Clay maquette

October 20, 2014

Tags: Bonnier, women artists, Scandinavian artists

Swedish artist Eva Bonnier accompanied Hanna Hirsch to Paris in 1883.* Bonnier was primarily a painter; but like my characters, Amy Richardson and Sonja Borealska, she practiced sculpture in clay. (more…)

More Scandinavian interiors

September 26, 2014

Tags: rooms, Scandinavian artists

Carl Vilhelm Holsoe The Dining Room
Blog tip: Another artist of domestic interiors—Carl Vilhelm Holsoe.

Breakfast tables

September 11, 2014

Tags: gardens, women artists, Scandinavian artists

Here in New England, mornings are getting too cool to eat breakfast on the porch; but before summer fades entirely, I was pleased to run across this painting at the always interesting Lines and Colors blog. It is an example of blogger Charley Parker’s feature, “Eye Candy for Today,” which demonstrates the value of looking at an art work bit by bit instead of always as an integrated whole. My interest in garden history has led me to peek into backgrounds of portraits and biblical paintings to catch glimpses of gardens in the past. For writers, realistic details spring out, e.g., the single blossom in a wine glass on the table in this picture. (more…)

Amélie Helga Lundhal

May 14, 2014

Tags: Académie Julian, women artists, Scandinavian artists

Blog tip: For a Cyrillic-alphabet blog post with several images of work by the Finnish artist Amélie Helga Lundhal (1850–1914), who studied at the Académie Julian and painted in Brittany, click here.

Nordic women artists

May 8, 2014

Tags: women artists, Scandinavian artists

While I was working on the previous post, about Anna Ancher of the Skagen colony, I ran across an archived blog post on the Finnish painter, Elin Kleopatra Danielson-Gambogi (1861–1919). She was an almost exact contemporary of Jeanette and, after training in Finland, went to Paris and Pont Aven, where she became a follower of Jules Bastien-Lepage. (more…)

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, (more…)

Painting Edward’s portrait

April 3, 2014

Tags: Bauck, Jeanette, Wegmann, studio, women artists, Scandinavian artists

This painting by Jeanna Bauck (1840-1926) depicts a fancier, better equipped studio than Jeanette’s, but you can imagine my excitement when I found it last year—the right era, a woman assiduously painting a portrait of a sober-faced older man. (more…)

Copies and what came after

March 31, 2014

Tags: Schjerfbeck, Velázquez, copyist, women artists, Scandinavian artists

Art students in the 19th C studied older artists’ paintings by copying them,Velázquez being a favorite. Many continued the practice throughout their careers. The work of Jeanette’s contemporary, Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck (1862-1946), shows how interesting the copies could be and how different their original work eventually became. (more…)

Dusty red Rome

September 19, 2013

Tags: Edward, Carl, Rome, Eckersberg, Scandinavian artists

In the 2nd C A.D., more than 1.5 million people lived in Rome. In the mid 19th C, the population was a tenth that size. Visitors were struck by the plethora of ruins within and surrounding the city. Instead of the white marble they expect, Edward and Carl find red brick and dust.

Yet Rome was also a cultural center, where not only was the art of the past on display, but artists still trained, including Scandinavians like Eckersberg and (perhaps of more interest to readers of this blog) women sculptors like Harriet Hosmer. (more…)