Sunday, February 16, 2014

BOOKPAGE: "Cowell presents a vivid portrait of Monet’s remarkable career."

SUSAN VREELAND: "Read it with a book of Monet's paintings by your side, and be prepared to marvel, and to weep."

BOOKLIST: “Cowell mines the tempestuous relationship of Monet and his romantic and artistic inspiration with a nimble and discerning command as she indelibly evokes the lush demimonde of nineteenth-century Paris.”

Recommended by PEOPLE MAGAZINE.

published in English, German, Italian, Polish, Chinese and Portuguese

New novel aboout Degas and Mary Cassatt

A new novel has just been been published about Mary Cassatt and Degas to terrific reviews. Travel back to Paris in the days of the Impressionists! The author is the much acclaimed Robin Oliveira and the publisher is Viking Penguin.

STORY: The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary's fierce determination wavers. Her father is imploring her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle. So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships.

Robin's website to buy the novel!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Monet's CAMILLE IN A GREEN DRESS now at Met Museum

There's a current exhibition about Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity at the Metropolitan Museum which features Monet's ORIGINAL PAINTING OF CAMILLE IN HER GREEN DRESS. I have never seen it in person as it is from Bremen. So do go see it if you can. The exhibition is open until May 27th, 2013.

Thanks so much for all the wonderful e-mails about my novel CLAUDE and CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Please do browse the seventy posts in this blog!

Please do browse some of the seventy lovingly researched mini-posts in this blog, each about different tiny parts of the lives of the impressionists including Renoir painting Richard Wagner, Berthe Morisot's last letter to her daughter, did Monet's second wife destroy his first wife's (Camille's) letters and diaries, the secret life of Monet's best friend Frederic Bazille, an auction of Renoir's personal papers including his wedding license. Your blog author has taken a break to finish her new novel but yes....there may be another novel about an impressionist in my future as well!

Claude Monet in his early twenties
It is now almost three years since CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET was first published. In translation, it has traveled to Italy, Germany, Poland, Brazil, China and onward! Thank you to the tens of thousands of people who have read it! And to everyone who has loved this blog!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

update on this site and my novel about Monet

Apologies! I have not had time to update this site for rather a while, but please do look at all the old posts as they are all relevant and interesting and sometimes unknown aspects of those gifted group of men, the Impressionists. They were called Impressionists by a quirk of fate; an art critic who attended their first exhibition took the name from Monet's Impression: Sunrise which the critic said was very much like a design for bad wallpaper...and of course one can buy that wallpaper today!

News is that I am still talking about my novel CLAUDE & CAMILLE: A NOVEL OF MONET this year and in 2013, and dates can be found on my website. I am speaking in New Jersey twice this June and in Manhattan in July, etc. Other news for those in the New York City area is that the Botanical Gardens has replicated part of the Giverny Gardens and it is gorgeous. Do go if you can!

Monday, October 31, 2011

the almost truthful letters a young Impressionist sent home

One of the frequent reports of life among the young painters who would be one day called the Impressionists are the letters sent home to his mother and father by Monet's best friend, the painter Jean Frédéric Bazille. Bazille came from a well-to-do family in Montpellier and moved to Paris to study medicine. After telling his family repeatedly that his medical exams were once more postponed, he confessed all he wanted to do was paint! (It was a big distraction to study anatomy when Renoir and Monet and Manet and Pissarro were in the other room of the studio talking painting!) From his letters we learn something of the joyous life of these young men, and Bazille's constant avoidance of his parents' attempts to marry him off. He was a very good person and rushed off to fight for France in the Franco-Prussian wars to a disastrous outcome.

This self-portrait from the Chicago Art Institute is rather strange; he was only about 24 or 25, and painted himself at least fifteen years older. Or perhaps it is the tension of staring at himself in the mirror or some discomfort about himself which made him paint that way. Various paintings and photos of him show him as dashingly handsome, humble while painting at his easel, and very much the formidable son of a great family in still another. The first drafts of my novel CLAUDE & CAMILLE featured Bazille as the main character; he later moved to third major character. I have many books about him, perhaps all that have been published in English and a few in French.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Reading about Pissarro's family

I arrived at the Clark Museum to speak about my novel the week after they took down their exquisite exhibit Pissarro's People, but I did get a copy of the excellent exhibition book. I was particularly struck at how much he loved his children and with what an atmosphere of unconditional love he raised them. He lost three of them before his own death; Jeanne, called Minette (shown right), died when she was nine. There are many portraits of her, from an enchanting little girl to a somber and sickly one. I don't know how she died or if any record is left. It was devastating for Pissarro and his wife.

The exhibition book is a fine portrait of the man as well as the painter...this most tender, humble painter! I would have loved to have known him.