In 1631, Sara de Vos is admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke in Holland, the first woman to be so honoured. 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 Manhattan 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 with increasing and exquisite suspense, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos mesmerises while it grapples with the demands of the artistic life, showing how the deceits of the past can forge the present.
This is a story about two women. And yes I liked the historical better, I always seems to do that, and since I like historical it makes sense.
In the 1600s Sara de Vos became the first female painter in the Guild. And slowly we learn her story and what made her paint her one single surviving piece of artwork. Her story wasn't exactly the happiest one, she sure had bad luck.
In the 50s, Marten de Groos sets out to find who stole his painting. And meets Ellie. A student who paints fakes in her spare time, oh and yes art restoration.
40 years later Ellie wonders if the past will catch up to her, and she is still fascinated by the Sara's painting. And these 3 periods in time are slowly brought to life one step at a time.
Ellie was, it was another age, she was rather naive, but she loved art! Marten was sad in a way, he really was stuck in a rut. And then there was Sara, who slowly just lived on.
I would not call it melancholic, but in a way it felt like that. Everyone wanted and needed something more. But they all just continued like before. It's a hard book to describe, you would have to read it.
An interesting tale.
Paperback, 304 pages
Published May 1st 2016 by Allen & Unwin (first published April 5th 2016)
Fiction / historical fiction