Blog post alert: It's always fun to run into something that combines your interests—for me, in this case, Huguenot fan makers. For reasons of family history, I've been paying attention to Huguenots lately. Fans as part of fashion is a natural for a writer of historical fiction. Characters in Where the Light Falls carry fans, and artists' fans were part of the 1879 Impressionist show they visit. Here Gauguin follows his predecessors' lead. For more examples of artists' fans, see Fan Club: painted fans in European art 1 and Fan Club: painted fans in European art 2.
Picturing a World
See also my earlier post, Impression: Sunrise. Read More
In Where the Light Falls, Jeanette, Effie, and Edward see the painting at the 4th Impressionist Show. It also interests me because it has so clearly influenced Childe Hassam’s views of flag-draped streets in New York, e.g., The Fourth of July, 1916, or indeed, Paris in his July Fourteenth, Rue Daunou of 1910.
Just for the fun of it, click here for the stirring rendition of La Marseillaise in the greatest B-movie of them all, Casablanca (the song begins at minute 1.08). Read More
While I was writing, the concept of "the male gaze” seemed more pertinent to feminist art history than to my novel. What made me chortle gleefully when I first saw At the Café by Forain was not the trio of repellent oglers, but that blue dress on the Parisiénne. Wouldn’t Jeanette love to see herself in it! Wouldn’t she love the hat! Let’s face it, she might even have enjoyed attracting the notice of strangers (she does want to be a star). But surely not these strangers: Edward was right to be dubious about the milieu and the people depicted. Read More
I had Jeanette and Edward react to Mary Cassatt’s Portrait of a Little Girl at the 4th Impressionist Exhibition for several reasons. First and obviously, it fell in with a focus on women painters. Second, the tilting of the picture plane, influenced by Japanese woodcuts, was an important upending of pictorial convention at the time, and I wanted to show how the older Edward could in some ways be more open to the avant-garde than a typical art student like Jeanette who was invested in the prevailing conventions at the very time they were about to fall. Read More