The great painter Pablo Picasso was also a great womanizer. His affairs were numerous. His marriages didn’t last. But one woman, Eva Gouel, became the legendary love of his life. They met four years before her death from either tuberculosis or cancer. (The author admits information isn’t clear.) Picasso loved Eva deeply enough to write hidden messages to her in paintings. In this novel, they had planned to marry, and Eva was considered “Madame Picasso” when she died.
Girard’s lush, sensuous writing brings bohemian Belle Epoque Paris to life—Picasso’s shabby studio in Montmartre, backstage drama at the Moulin Rouge, salons of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. Paris at that time was teeming with new movements in art. Picasso was moving into cubism, influenced by artists like Georges Braque. Into this world Eva Gouel, a young girl from Vincennes running away from a forced marriage and making her living as a seamstress at the Moulin Rouge, attracted Picasso’s attention and captured his heart. In the hands of Girard, Picasso is a sympathetic, if complex, figure; Eva a haunting heroine, reminiscent of Mimi in Puccini’s opera, La Boheme.
This is a book to savor and read more than once.
|Page Count||400 pages|
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