Historical art fiction
February 13, 2009 9:33 PM   Subscribe

I'd really like to find some good historical fiction about modern art movements, scenes, or artists.

I'm a huge fan of modern art from around 1900 to 1970. I'm especially fascinated by dadaism, Futurism, and most of all, Surrealism. I very much enjoyed the scenes with DalĂ­ and the Surrealists in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon, and Robert Irwin's The Exquisite Corpse, with a surrealist artist as a protagonist, blew me away.

I'm very much interested in finding some quality historical fiction that either centers on this period in modern art or has significant scenes relating to it. Does anyone have any recommendations?
posted by One Second Before Awakening to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
There are at least two novels about Egon Schiele: Joanna Scott's Arrogance and, more recently, Lewis Croft's The Pornographer of Vienna.
posted by thomas j wise at 12:32 AM on February 14, 2009


The Moon and Sixpence is based on the life of Gauguin.
posted by fire&wings at 1:32 AM on February 14, 2009


Lisa Goldstein's novel The Dream Years sounds like just what you're looking for, One Second Before Awakening. Gerald Jonas reviewed it when it came out in 1985.

If I think of anything else, I'll pop back by.
posted by cgc373 at 2:12 AM on February 14, 2009


Naked Came I is a great historical novel about Auguste Rodin. I highly recommend it.
posted by eatcake at 5:36 AM on February 14, 2009


What I Loved by Siri Husvedt has some great stuff about the 1970s/80s/90s art scene in NYC, the Soho explosion... and some wacky ravers, too!
posted by staboo at 7:06 AM on February 14, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, which is not Alice B. Toklas's autobiography but was written by Gertrude Stein as if it were, has Picasso, Cezanne, Matisse, Braque, Apollinaire.... I haven't read it in a while, so I don't remember exactly how much of the whole is about the Paris art scene, but there are a lot of little anecdotes and vignettes.
posted by felix grundy at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2009


If you're interested at all in the Abstract Expressionists -- e.g., Pollock, de Kooning, Rothko -- this historical mystery is steeped in that world.
posted by taramosalata at 1:56 PM on February 14, 2009


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