Sunday, April 17, 2022

Ten novels about art and artists

Jennifer Murphy holds an MFA in painting from the University of Denver and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Washington. She is the recipient of the 2013 Loren D. Milliman Scholarship for creative writing and was a contributor at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference from 2008 through 2012. In 2015, her acclaimed debut novel, I Love You More, won the prestigious Nancy Pearl Fiction Award. Her love of art led her to start Citi Arts, a public art and urban planning company that has created public art master plans for airports, transit facilities, streetscapes, and cities nationwide. She hails from a small beachfront town in Michigan and has lived in Denver, Charlotte, Seattle, and Charleston. She currently lives in Houston, Texas.

Murphy's new novel is Scarlet in Blue.

[ Q&A with Jennifer Murphy]

At Electric Lit she tagged ten novels that "do what art itself does best. They intrigue. They seduce. They grab our attention and pull us inside." One title on the list:
Georgia by Dawn Tripp

Tripp reimagines the relationship between actual painter Georgia O’Keefe and photographer Alfred Stieglitz. Tripp’s imaginings feel so real that I—a painter and student of art history, who is familiar with the affair between O’Keefe and Stieglitz—believed, or at least wanted to believe, it all to be true. An author’s note prefaces the novel, explaining the detailed research Tripp did in portraying the artists’ relationship and lives. The second paragraph of the novel reads, “This is not a love story. If it were, we would have the same story. But he has his, and I have mine.” These words set the tone for the relationship itself: the initial attraction between O’Keefe and Stieglitz, their passion and turbulence, and their lifelong affair. And along the way, through sheer grit and undeniable talent, Georgia O’Keefe becomes a strong, independent woman and renowned artist. This story and its authoritative prose at times left me breathless.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue