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 peripherytheir lovers, servants, children, and neighborsshowing 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 charactersa teacher, a construction worker, and an orphanencounter 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. Morisots 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 Studiesare a fascinating exploration of human frailty and resilience. These tales marvel at the lasting strength and meaning of art in our lives, revealing arts healing effect on the soul. Crafted with the skill of a master painter, Life Studiesis a dazzling addition to Vreelands outstanding body of work.
New York : Viking Penguin, 2005