Monday, June 10, 2019

Luncheon of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland

"He felt hot with the pressure to get started, and to make it the greatest figure painting of the whole Impressionist movement. ... Figures, landscape, genre subject--all in one. Throw in a still life too. Not just a few figures. A dozen or more, at closer range this time. ... He would use a combination of styles. It would be an experiment. The faces modeled with more classical techniques, one hue blending seamlessly into another, but the landscape and still life in looser, distinct strokes. Every figure, every feature a small painting in and of itself."

This book has so many things in it that I love: Paris, sailing on the Seine, Sunday afternoons on the Ile de Chatou, great art, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and the Impressionists. With her skillful storytelling, Susan Vreeland transports the reader to Paris in the 1880s, capturing the brilliance and struggle of Renoir (one of my favorite Impressionist painters) and depicting the conception and creation of his most famous painting. She really brings Renoir and his friends (who posed for him in this painting) to life. And the way she recreates that time period...it felt like I was there. This is a great read--well-written and interesting. And I loved everything about it! I can't wait to read Vreeland's other books.

Happy Reading!


Luncheon of the Boating Party -- Pierre-Auguste Renoir, 1881

25 comments:

  1. What a lovely painting! And I'm intrigued by the setting and the time period, too.

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    1. It's one of my favorite time periods. Gotta love those Impressionists! :)

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  2. I've always liked this painting which makes another time feel real and current despite the changes in fashion. Thanks for this recommendation, Lark!

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    1. Isn't it a great painting? I love it, too. :)

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  3. I haven't read a Susan Vreeland book in a long time! I might have to pick this one up. I love the painting its based on.

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    1. Vreeland is such a good writer. After reading this one, I really want to read more of her books.

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  4. Sounds like a great book. That time period is one of my favorites. Love the painting! :)

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    1. And it's set in Paris! That's kind of awesome, too. :D

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  5. It's such a great painting. I haven't heard about the book at all--I'm going to have to check it out!

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    1. It's a really good! I hope you get a chance to read it. :) Thanks for commenting.

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  6. Interesting! Makes me think of Tracy Chevalier and her use of certain works of art to inspire her novels (though I've only read The Girl with the Pearl Earring).

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    1. She's another author whose books I keep meaning to read. :D

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  7. I do love that painting. Nice to hear the story lived up to the inspiration! :)

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    1. It really did. And now, when I look at the painting and the people in it, I know who they are and what they're lives were like and what that summer was like when Renoir painted them. It's been fun.

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  8. Neat! I love how she transports you into that setting- what a fabulous time.

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    1. It's one of my favorites...the whole art in Paris thing. :)

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  9. I have wanted to read this book for awhile--like you, it includes so many of my favorite things! Glad to hear that it is good. I was thinking I had read something by Susan Vreeland, but I looked at her list of books, and all I can think is that I meant to!

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    1. :D I know how that goes. I've been meaning to read most of her books for years now.

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  10. Hi Lark, coincidentally I have been looking for a novel about 19th century France too and Susan Vreeland sounds like just the right author. In my searching I also came upon a book The Dawn of the Belle Epoque by Mary McAuliffe and I believe its non fiction and its gotten good reviews.

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    1. Ooh...that sounds like a good one. I'll have to look for it. I love reading about that time period. :)

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  11. Now I want to read this book, Paris, the Impressionists, Renoir, what's not to like? I lived in Paris for 7 months and love that city.

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    1. Paris is amazing! I'd love to spend more time there than just a week or two. :)

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  12. I have that somewhere on my shelves - haven't read it so far, though. Thanks for the reminder - it sounds like the perfect summer read :-)

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    1. It's really good. I hope you enjoy it! :)

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  13. I've read several of her books and have throughly enjoyed them. I know I have this one on my shelves and need to pull it out. So glad you liked it!

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