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The Last Painting of Sara de Vos (2016)

by Dominic Smith

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8245718,831 (3.9)75
"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"--… (more)
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English (55)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (57)
Showing 1-5 of 55 (next | show all)
I should have known this wasn't the book for me when I saw comparisons to [b: Girl With a Pearl Earring|2865|Girl with a Pearl Earring|Tracy Chevalier|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1327197580s/2865.jpg|3358875]. There were a few parts that I did like: the descriptions of painting, Sara sassing the guild, some of the author's turns of phrase were lovely. But that wasn't enough to make up for all the things I didn't like. (EVERYTHING ELSE). ( )
  bookbrig | Aug 5, 2020 |
Well it's not true that I've finished reading it. Because I never will. I have tried 3 times to read this book but I only made it to page 65. Perhaps the subject matter had no interest for me (Dutch painting, forgeries) or perhaps it was the writing style. Each time I attempted to read this book, my mind wandered off and I found something more interesting to do. ( )
  Mercef | Jul 3, 2020 |
I had high hopes for this book because I love strong female characters and of course, art. But the alternating story between three different time periods was confusing (mainly because I don't read chapter titles) and I found I lost interest in the characters. So, once the library was able to loan books again, I quit reading this one. Not high on my list. ( )
  book58lover | May 27, 2020 |
The book begins in 17th century Amsterdam where painter Sara de Vos paints a landscape she titles At the Edge of the Wood. Centuries later the painting will greatly affect the lives of a wealthy collector and a student restorer who illegally copies it.

Although well written I was disappointed that I didn't find the contemporary characters believable. Even so, I liked the book though not to the extent I expected. ( )
  clue | Feb 29, 2020 |
I got a little over half way through this book when I realized that I didn't really care about any of the characters, and had no real interest in finding out what happens to them or how the story played out. So I quit reading it. I later read several reviews and was able to piece together what happens, which confirmed that I made a good decision. ( )
  k0sborn | Sep 4, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 55 (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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"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"--

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