The Portrait

The Portrait

Book - 2005
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Penguin Putnam
A perfectly rendered short novel of suspense about a painter driven to extremes.

An influential art critic in the early years of the twentieth century journeys from London to the rustic, remote island of Houat, off France's northwest coast, to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. Over the course of the sitting, the painter recalls their years of friendship, the double-edged gift of the critic's patronage, the power he wielded over aspiring artists, and his apparent callousness in anointing the careers of some and devastating the lives of others. The balance of power between the two men shifts dramatically as the critic becomes a passive subject, while the painter struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas.

Reminiscing with ease and familiarity one minute, with anger and menace the next, the painter eventually reveals why he has accepted the commission of this portrait, why he left London suddenly and mysteriously at the height of his success, and why now, with dark determination, he feels ready to return.

Set against the dramatic, untamed landscape of Brittany during one of the most explosive periods in art history, The Portrait is rich with atmosphere and suggestion, psychological complexity, and marvelous detail. It is a novel you will want to begin again immediately after turning the last chilling page, to read once more with a watchful eye and appreciate the hand of an ingenious storyteller at work.

Baker & Taylor
Journeying to a remote French island to sit for a portrait that is painted by his tormented artist friend, an influential London art critic recalls the early years of their friendship, and his own influence over aspiring artists.

Blackwell North Amer
An influential art critic in the early years of the twentieth century journeys from London to the rustic, remote island of Houat, off France's northwest coast, to sit for a portrait painted by an old friend, a gifted but tormented artist living in self-imposed exile. Over the course of the sitting, the painter recalls their years of friendship, the double-edged gift of the critic's patronage, the power he wielded over aspiring artists, and his apparent callousness in anointing the careers of some and devastating the lives of others. The balance of power between the two men shifts dramatically as the critic becomes a passive subject while the painter struggles to capture the character of the man, as well as his image, on canvas.
Reminiscing with ease and familiarity one minute, with anger and menace the next, the painter eventually reveals why he has accepted the commission of this portrait, why he left London suddenly and mysteriously at the height of his success, and why now, with dark determination, he feels ready to return.

Baker
& Taylor

Journeying to a remote French island to sit for a portrait that is painted by his tormented artist friend, an influential London art critic recalls the early years of their friendship, his own influence over aspiring artists, and the power struggle between subject and artist in the course of the sitting. By the author of An Instance of the Fingerpost. 100,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Riverhead Books, c2005
ISBN: 9781573222983
1573222984
Branch Call Number: FICTION PEARS
FICTION PEARS
Characteristics: 211 p

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