I always loved you : a story of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas

by Oliveira, Robin,

Format: Print Book 2014
Availability: Available at 15 Libraries 15 of 17 copies
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Summary

'Paint love, he once said to her. You must always paint love.'

The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary's fierce determination wavers. Her father is imploring her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle. So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships.

In I Always Loved You , Robin Oliveira brilliantly re-creates the irresistible world of Bell Époque Paris, writing with grace and uncommon insight into the passion and foibles of the human heart.

'What a joy it is to be back in Bell Époque Paris with my old artist friends, guided by the masterful pen of Robin Oliveira whose finely crafted language brings to light the complicated relationships of four of the principals of the Impressionist movement - Cassatt, Degas, Manet, Morisot. Only an omniscient narrator has the latitude to disclose the private yearnings and fears of these four as they grapple with issues of art execution, scathing reviews, self-doubt, elusive fame, tempestuous love, and creeping morality. Here, in beautiful prose, juicy with nuance and depth, is the intimate, heart-wrenching story behind Impressionist art history, with Mary Cassatt at its center. A glorious achievement.' Susan Vreeland, author of Luncheon of the Boating Party

'I Always Loved You is a marvelous work, enthralling, illuminating, and beautifully rendered. Robin Oliveira brings Bell Époque Paris and the fascinating artists and writers who walked its streets and filled its salons to the fullness of vivid, fiercely passionate life.' Jennifer Chiaverini, author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker

'Oliveira's breathtaking, cinematic novel transported me to late-nineteenth-century Paris, to lively salons and cafés, and to the refuge of the studio . . . This story reveals what it means to be an artist who is also a woman, and you will feel both the anguish and the triumph down in your bones.' Kelly O'Connor McNees, author of The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott

'In artfully crafted prose as penetrating and radiant as an Impressionist masterpiece, Robin Oliveira's moving portrait of Mary Cassatt and Edgar Degas is a poignant reminder that beneath the majestic sweep of history and ideas are men and women with yearnings and trepidations as urgent and palpable as our own. I Always Loved You evokes, in brilliant detail, the nuances of culture, art, and society in the cafés and salons of late-nineteenth-century Paris while bringing to life the spellbinding whirl of artists, writers, and savants who made La Belle Époque legendary.' John Pipkin, author of Woodsburner

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* Oliveira follows her best-selling historical fiction debut, My Name Is Mary Sutter (2010), with a novel based on the life of the formidable American painter Mary Cassatt. Cassatt insists on living in Paris among the impressionists, so her concerned parents and loving sister join her there and are soon baffled by Cassatt's tempestuous interactions with her mercurial mentor, Edgar Degas. The true nature of their relationship remains open to interpretation, an opportunity Oliveira seizes with passionate and electrifying empathy for both artists. As she vividly renders 1870s Paris and its gossipy enclave of radical artists, including the painfully entangled Berthe Morisot and Edouard Manet (who is suffering horribly from syphilis), Oliveira contrasts irascible Degas and his freedom to go anywhere his omnivorous eye leads him (even as his eyesight fails) and steely Cassatt, who as a woman is forced to find inspiration in domesticity, painting incisive portraits of mothers and children as she forgoes marriage and motherhood. Emulating the powers of observation and expression possessed by the artists she so vividly and sensitively fictionalizes, Oliveira illuminates with piercing insight the churning psyches of her living-on-the-edge characters. This is a historically and aesthetically rich, complexly involving, and forthrightly sorrowful novel of the perilous, exhilarating, and world-changing lives of visionary artists breaking new ground and each other's hearts.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "In her second novel, Oliveira (My Name Is Mary Sutter) expertly draws us into the life of another famous Mary-this time in 1877 Paris, where a revolution is underway in the art world, as a few renegade painters snub (and are snubbed by) the juried exhibitions at the Paris Salon, which were then organized by the Academie des Beaux-Arts. American painter Mary Cassatt has just moved to the City of Light, not to fall in love, but to pursue her dream of becoming an artist, and she longs to get the academy's stamp of approval. But a chance meeting with Edgar Degas, one of the leading impressionist-era rebels, changes the course of her career and life. Though it's never been proven that the two painters were lovers, Oliveira explores the next 40 turbulent years of their relationship, and what might have been, crafting a tale of inspiration, desire, and restraint between two great artists of the 19th century. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Cassatt, Mary, -- 1844-1926 -- Fiction.
Degas, Edgar, -- 1834-1917 -- Fiction.
Painters -- Fiction.
Biographical fiction.
Publisher New York :2014
Language English
Description 343 pages ; 24 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references (page 341-343).
ISBN 9780670785797 (hardback)
0670785792 (hardback)
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