Friday, October 16, 2009
Susan Vreeland's novel about Renoir
I think nothing can bring the everyday lives of the French impressionists to us more vividly than fine, sensitive historical fiction. In Luncheon of the Boating Party, Susan Vreeland tells the fascinating story of the painter Renoir and his many friends, all who modeled, or loaned money, or sewed dresses, or gave encouragement, or provided a small dog, or struggled with love, as he painted his famous picture. How many people contribute each in their own way to create a work of art! Often their voices or the colors of their individual lives are lost to time. Susan Vreeland has heard and captured those voices and created as well a picture of this most modest painter Renoir who said he wanted to put beauty in the world not ugliness, and who, in his final days on earth, exclaimed that at last he understood how to paint a flower.