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The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel by…

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos: A Novel (2016)

by Dominic Smith

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This book surprised me in the end. I wasn't sure I was going to like any of the characters, but in the end I liked them all! This is one of those, stick with it, it's worth it books. ( )
  sydsavvy | Sep 5, 2017 |
Beautifully written and complex in its construction, this novel is packed with interesting details about how to forge paintings of the Dutch School. While definitely intellectually engaging, what the novel lacks is an emotional quality that makes the reader care about the people. As a result, "Sara de Vos" falls short of being a great novel.

This is a book that ranges over time, geography, and questions of morality. Perhaps as a result of its epic ambition it falls short of landing anywhere sufficiently to give readers a sense of "being there." So, it's difficult to sink into the story, which in its parallel plot structure possibly jumps around too much. In the midst of "trying" to be too many novels this one probably flew too close to the sun.

I enjoyed the novel in a mostly didactic sense but am afraid I won't find it memorable as a story or moving experience. However, I can recommend it to lovers of historical fiction, intellectual mysteries, and psychological intrigue, especially if they want to learn some arcana concerning the construction of oil paintings. ( )
  Limelite | Jul 29, 2017 |
An interesting novel about a woman who works as an art restorer and somehow gets drawn into a forgery project. The story goes back and forth in time between the 1600s, when the original painter was alive, the 1950s, when the forgery happened, and the year 2000, when all the pieces of the story come together in Australia. The author does this very well, so as a reader I didn't really have whiplash. An excellent character-driven story with some attention to the craft of art and how to paint emotions. ( )
  krazy4katz | Jul 28, 2017 |
Beautifully written, but I wanted to hear more about Sara! She was such an intriguing character and her story didn't really take off for me until the second half of the book. Loved the detailed ekphrastic descriptions of the paintings and the narrative of the forgery process. The metaphor of layering persisted throughout all three time periods with just enough information given. A good, but not amazing, read. ( )
  sansmerci | Jul 16, 2017 |
A female Dutch painter Sara De Vos paints "at the edge of the Wood" in 1631. In 1957 Ellie Shipley , an art students copies it. Marty de Groot has the painting in his family for many years only to discover one day that it is a copy.. He decides to find the forger himself.
This is a great premise for a novel and this is a great read. ( )
  Smits | Jul 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
"Smith’s book absorbs you from the start."
"Apart from the story’s firm historical grounding, the narrative has a supple omniscience that glides, Möbius-like, among the centuries without a snag."
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For Tamara Smith, M.P. - beloved sister, loyal friend, trailblazer
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The painting is stolen the same week the Russians put a dog into space.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374106681, Hardcover)

This is what we long for: the profound pleasure of being swept into vivid new worlds, worlds peopled by characters so intriguing and real that we can't shake them, even long after the reading's done. In his earlier, award-winning novels, Dominic Smith demonstrated a gift for coaxing the past to life. Now, in The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, he deftly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a collision course between a rare landscape by a female Dutch painter of the golden age, an inheritor of the work in 1950s Manhattan, and a celebrated art historian who painted a forgery of it in her youth.

In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke's in Holland, the first woman to be so recognized. Three hundred years later, only one work attributed to de Vos is known to remain--a haunting winter scene, At the Edge of a Wood, which hangs over the bed of a wealthy descendant of the original owner. An Australian grad student, Ellie Shipley, struggling to stay afloat in New York, agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape, a decision that will haunt her. Because now, half a century later, she's curating an exhibit of female Dutch painters, and both versions threaten to arrive. As the three threads intersect, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerizes while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 30 Jul 2015 16:26:46 -0400)

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