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Life Studies | [Susan Vreeland]

Life Studies

In Life Studies, Susan Vreeland has written a deeply moving, richly textured collection of stories that explore art through the eyes of ordinary people. Rather than focusing directly on great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists like Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, and Modigliani, Vreeland shifts her lens to those on the periphery, their lovers, servants, children, and neighbors, showing their personal stories as they play out against the artists' lives.
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Publisher's Summary

In Life Studies, Susan Vreeland has written a deeply moving, richly textured collection of stories that explore art through the eyes of ordinary people. Rather than focusing directly on great Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists like Manet, Monet, Van Gogh, and Modigliani, Vreeland shifts her lens to those on the periphery, their lovers, servants, children, and neighbors, showing their personal stories as they play out against the artists' lives. Counterbalancing these historic stories are an equal number of contemporary tales in which her characters, a teacher, a construction worker, and an orphan, encounter art in meaningful, sometimes surprising ways.

When a disillusioned banker sees his daughter through the eyes of Renoir, his senses and zest for life are awakened. Morisot's wet nurse sacrifices her own child so another mother can paint. By modeling nude, a wife discovers her deeper, more compassionate self. In one enlightening summer, a young girl encounters Picasso and death. Together, the stories in Life Studies are a fascinating exploration of human frailty and resilience. These tales marvel at the lasting strength and meaning of art in our lives, revealing art's healing effect on the soul. Crafted with the skill of a master painter, Life Studies is a dazzling addition to Vreeland's outstanding body of work.

©2004 Susan Vreeland; (P)2004 Penguin Audio and Books on Tape, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Having carved out a niche as an insightful and sensitive chronicler of artists' lives, Vreeland continues to consider the artistic impulse with fresh and imaginative fictional portraits." (Publishers Weekly)
"Entertaining and provocative, Vreeland raises piquant questions about relationships between men and women and about how art can both drive people apart and bring people together." (Booklist)

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    Jennifer L. Richardson 08-06-05 Listener Since 2003

    heartnsoul

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    "Try to remember that this is fiction"

    I really enjoyed this book. Some of the stories are more compelling than others but over all it is really pretty great. My only complaint is that the author doesn't fess up and give you any of the real information that the stories are built on. In my studies and discussions of art I have come across many rumors and some of them have been put to use in this book. The result is thoroughly entertaining but difficult to separate from reality.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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