I (JoLee) am an Art Historian, and I have shared my love of art history with my sister. When well done, I love a novel that incorporates art in some form. I've been looking forward to creating a Reading on a Theme about art for some time. I imagine this won't be the last time you'll see this topic featured.
Forgery and Theft:
The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro revolves around the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. Claire is hired to make a reproduction of the museum's stolen Degas, but she is only a small piece in a dicey operation. In
the spirit of full disclosure, I am an Art Historian, so, when done
well, I love this type of thing. Sure, I had to just roll with the idea
that Claire would get forgery training in a Reproductions.com class,
but I expect to suspend my disbelief at least a little when reading
fiction. I loved the many levels
of deception and the mirroring of Claire’s past and present. This novel
would also be a good choice for art lovers, Bostonians, and fans of the
television show White Collar.
Art Come to Life:
Julien Garnier recently discovered that the art in the Musee d'Orsay comes alive at night, but it isn't until a lost Renoir comes to the museum that his life truly gets interesting. Starry Nights is full of magic, mystery, mythology and just enough weird to make it a delightful read. I loved Daisy Whitney's interesting characters and the way she weaves a mystery through a love story. The art is described simply, and I particularly enjoyed the pieces that were reproduced in the end pages of the book. The art in Starry Nights is mainly focused around the work of Renoir and other Impressionists.
Murder in the Art Museum:
Alix London is an art conservator with a talent for spotting forgeries that keeps getting her into trouble. The Art Whisperer is the third in Charlotte Elkins and Aaron Elkins's Alix London series. I
have not read the first two in the series, and so I was missing out in
that character love that you develop when you read multiple books about
the same characters. Even so, the book was really enjoyable. I
especially liked how many American modernists are mentioned in this
book. However, I was surprised by the number of fictional art academics
in this book who have a prejudice against Jackson Pollock and the
Abstract Expressionists. The Art Whisperer is out August 19th, 2014. Review copy from NetGalley.
A Young Artist's First Love:
Noorlander is the daughter of the director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she is a
brilliant artist. She's been dreaming of doing a semester in France for
years and her chances of getting in look promising. At a black-tie event at the Met, Wren meets Nolan. Starry Night
is not your typical love story. When I strip this book down to
its essentials, it feels really real to me. The icing (the wealthy,
the Met, New York, etc.) is
there to make the story more interesting, but, when you come down to
it, what this story is about is kids that make mistakes in the
name of love. People sacrifice things for love all the time, and
sometimes that is the right thing to do, and sometimes it is not. Isabel Gillies's book is about when it is not. Starry Night is out September 2nd, 2014. Review copy from NetGalley.
Manet and Time Travel:
Porterfield works as a conservator at the Art Institute
in Chicago. She
discovers a note behind the painted surface of one of Manet's works that sends her back in time to 19th-century Paris where she meets
Edouard Manet. M. Clifford's fictional interpretations of Manet's
paintings are fabulous! He obviously looked very closely at Manet's
I didn't like so much: Emily. I expect a woman who is working at
one of the world's finest art establishments to be a little
brighter. Garrett puts all the intellectual
pieces of the puzzle together while Emily is swooning over how dreamy
Edouard is. Also, Edouard is very fictionalized, but I can get over that
because it is a novel.