Sunday, October 27, 2013

The Art of Writing About Art

"Whether you’re into Ocean’s 11-style art heist stories, tales of tortured artists, or fiction that takes its inspiration from works of art and the people who make lives and livings creating them, you’ve no doubt found yourself lost in a book – a written work of art – that is largely about other artistic media."

One good artist deserves another, and so we come to a list of novels written about the art world, art, artists, and everything in between. If you love art - if you have have enjoyed films such as Basquiat, Frida, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Goya, The Rape of Europa, Pollock, Surviving Picasso, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Art of the Steal, and Herb and Dorothy - if you read biographies of artists and check out art books from the catalog - perhaps you'd like to try something fictional but still firmly planted in the art world? We have compiled a list of likely contenders to stimulate your senses from the library catalog.

Do you have a favorite novel which features art?  Let us know in the comments!

The Forgery of Venus by Michael Gruber [art forgers, extortion]

The Passion of Artemisia by Susan Vreeland [Artemisia Gentileschi, 1593-1652 or 1653; painting]

The Art Forger by B.A. Shapiro [Edgar Degas; art forgers]

Sacré Bleu by Christopher Moore [blue in art; humor]

Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara (eBook) [artists; marriage; 1930s]

Theft by Peter Carey [Australia; painting]

The Floating Girl by Sujata Massey [Japan; manga; mystery]

Skinny Legs and All by Tom Robbins [postmodern art; sculpture]

The Recognitions by William Gaddis [art forgeries]

An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin [art auctions, humor]

The Horse’s Mouth by Joyce Cary [painters; psychological fiction]

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Costova [painters; art appreciation]

Asylum by Patrick McGrath [sculpture; psychological fiction]

The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone [Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1475-1564; biographical fiction]

The Moon and Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham [Paul Gauguin, 1848-1903; psychological fiction]

The Book of Evidence by John Banville [art theft; psychological suspense]

My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok [artists; young men; New York]

The Moor’s Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie ["the seductions and mysteries of art"]

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (YA) [artists; road trip; coming of age]

The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner [women artists; Futurism]

Murder as Fine Art by David Morrell [historical mystery; Thomas De Quincey, 1785-1859]

The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier [textile industry; Belgium & France; 15th century]

Bluebeard by Kurt Vonnegut [Abstract Expressionism; Armenian American artists]

Tell The Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt [painters; family; coming of age]

The Art of Murder by Jose Carlos Somoza [Modern Art; mystery]

I Am Madame X by Gioia Diliberto [John Singer Sargent, 1856-1925; historical fiction]

The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan [Paris; 1870-1940; artists' models]

The Sarantine Mosaic (duology) by Guy Gavriel Kay [mosaicists; Byzantine Empire]

Memory and Dream by Charles de Lint [women artists; fantasy fiction]

The Fallen Angel by Daniel Silva [art restoration; spy fiction]

And Only to Deceive by Tasha Alexander [archaeological thefts; mystery]

What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt [art history; domestic fiction]

Hunting and Gathering by Anna Gavalda [women artists; men/women relations; Paris]

Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood [women painters; Toronto; female friendships]

Life Class by Pat Barker [physicians as artists; World War I]

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde [portraits; mystery]

The Birth of Venus by Sarah Dunant [women painters; Florence; 1421-1737]

The Matisse Stories by A.S. Byatt [stories inspired by art]

The Family Fang by Kevin Wilson [performance artists; family]

This list compiled from a list in the article "43 Novels Featuring Art" and the "Art & Artists in Fiction" list on Goodreads.


LW said...

The Madonnas of Leningrad by Debra Dean

LW said...

Also, The Altarpiece by Lauren Fogle Boyd -- about Van Eyck's Ghent Altarpiece during World War II. I wouldn't call it great writing, but it's an interesting story -- and mostly a fictional account of what The Monuments Men by Robert Edsel covers.