Recommended Art-based Fiction

I adore to read fiction with art and artist threads.  This is my personal writing niche like celebrated author Susan Vreeland, who has dedicated her writing life to fiction with art “tie-ins”, as she calls it.

* Please note I have many titles to add to this list and I will be updating it soon.

I highly recommend these novels for the art/fiction lover…

THE FOREST LOVER by Susan Vreeland. Against all social mores, Canadian painter/writer Emily Carr paints the British Columbia forests and its great totem poles, recording the essence of the wilds and its native peoples.

THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY by Irving Stone. A classic and moving novel about Michelangelo, the Sistine ceiling, and his relationship with the popes of his time period.

LUST FOR LIFE by Irving Stone. Another classic by Stone, the biographical story of  painter Vincent Van Gogh.

THE PASSION OF ARTEMISIA, by Susan Vreeland. Despite rape and scandal, Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi forges a successful career in the male-dominated art world in Rome, Florence, and Genoa. This is a powerful and inspiring read.

CLARA & MR. TIFFANY by Susan Vreeland. The story of Clara Driscoll the woman behind the famous Tiffany stained glass works at the turn of the 19th century.

CLAUDE AND CAMILLE by Stephanie Cowell. A love story of 19th century French painter Claude Monet and his muse, Camille.

PORTRAITS OF AN ARTIST by Mary F. Burns. Life story of American John Singer Sargent’s paintings–family, friends, lovers, and enemies in Paris and London.

THE LADY WITH AN OSTRICH-FEATHER FAN by Frederick Andresen. Recounts the inception and life history of two of Rembrandt’s most celebrated masterpieces.

CASCADE by Maryanne O’Hara. An in depth exploration of a fictional female American artist in the 1930’s, set in a doomed town Cascade, MA and New York City.

LEAVING VAN GOGH by Carol Wallace. Van Gogh’s last months under the care of Dr. Gachet, a story into madness and art.

THE ART FORGER by B. A. Shapiro. A novel based on the Isabella Stewart Gardner 1990 heist of thirteen paintings.

I, HOGARTH by Michael Dean. The bawdy life of the London painter William Hogarth, told from the perspective of the painter himself.

THE SIGN OF THE WEEPING VIRGIN by Alana White. A miraculous painting, a missing girl, and a powerful lawyer who tries to keep the peace in Florence, Italy during a volatile time in the Italian Renaissance.

THE KING’S AGENT by Donna Russo Morin. The real Battista della Paglia, collector and thief, working for François, King of France, an art quest adventure tale.

THE SECRET BOOK OF FRIDA KAHLO by F.G. Haghenbeck. An imagined story of Frida Kahlo,.

GIRL IN HYACINTH BLUE by Susan Vreeland. A fictional story of Vermeer’s work.

THE BIRTH OF VENUS by Sarah Dunant. Story of Renaissance art and forbidden love.

GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING by Tracy Chevalier. Vermeer’s maid, model, muse and the story of art and artist.

THE LADY AND THE UNICORN by Tracy Chevalier. Fictional characters surrounding the making of a 15th century tapestry, a blind love story.

THE MADONNAS OF LENINGRAD by Debra Dean. A docent’s remembrances of paintings in the Hermitage during the Great Russian War.

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