For readers of Girl with a Pearl Earring, a “beautiful, brilliant, delicious” (Elizabeth McCracken) novel about Edouard Manet’s muse.
Paris, 1862. A young girl in a threadbare dress and green boots, hungry for experience, meets the mysterious and wealthy artist Édouard Manet. The encounter will change her—and the art world—forever.
At seventeen, Victorine Meurent abandons her old life to become immersed in the Parisian society of dance halls and cafés, meeting writers and artists like Baudelaire and Alfred Stevens. As Manet’s model, Victorine explores a world of new possibilities and stirs the artist to push the boundaries of painting in his infamous portrait Olympia, which scandalizes even the most cosmopolitan city.
Manet becomes himself because of Victorine. But who does she become, that figure on the divan?
Intense, erotic, and beautifully wrought, Paris Red evokes the unconventional love story of a painter and his muse that changed the history of art.
In this wonderful novel chronicling the life of one of painter Edouard Manet's primary models, Gibbon (Thief) takes readers on a mesmerizing, erotic journey not only to another time and place but inside the mind of an artist. When we meet Victorine (the opening line is, "That day I am seventeen and I am wearing the boots of a whore"), the young girl who will become Manet's muse, we are presented with a self-aware teenager, poor but full of imagination, with a penchant for drawing and a hunger to experience life. She is drawn to the mysterious Manet, who befriends Victorine and her roomate Denise, and what starts as a harmless m nage trois becomes something much more when Trine (as Manet calls her) forces the artist to choose between the two women. As their affair develops, Trine comes to learn that Manet wants her to pose for him, which she does with increasing abandon, though she knows the relationship won't last. Using spare, evocative prose, Gibbon shows us a young woman on the verge of finding her own artistic voice and offers an insightful and riveting account of how Manet and his muse feed off of each other's passion to create something greater than either of them.