It's been, as Sam Sanders used to say, a minute.
So much to catch up on, more than I can go into today. I have drafted five of what I think will be seven book chapters. The story continues, and--spoiler alert--I still don't know who made our painting. I know a great deal, an astonishing amount, really, about its peregrinations, and about those who bought and sold and lived with it. But who put brush to canvas I cannot yet say.
We are in Point Reyes, CA, for a few days this week to escape the continuing construction on our house (white people problems). Our view across the bay toward Bear Mountain is pas mal:
It should prove conducive to a little revising and convenient to a lot of hiking.
I am toggling these days between revising chapter drafts and tinkering with the next chapter. Most of what is going into the book has not appeared here. There are only so many stories and characters that I can include before the argument begins to lose its way. If I can find the time, my plan is to share some of those stories here, with you. I have notes about shopkeepers in the rue de Seine, about Marie Henry's daughters, and about Russian Jewish emigrés finding their way in 1920s Paris. I have a few research stories to share, too: over a quick coffee I can tell you the travails of the Centre Pompidou's librarians as they adjust to a new catalog and paging system, and take you behind the scenes at the Fine Arts Museum in Brest.
I'm hoping to find time to spin some of those tales over these next few months, in between correcting footnotes and omitting needless words in the manuscript. Some of those words, needless there, might be just right here.
If you are a new subscriber, welcome! You may dip in and out of the story in any entry--but if you want to begin at the beginning, the only way is to scroll all the way down to post number 1. For many posts the story went along chronologically; it will now proceed in independent episodes.
In the meantime, though, I promised news. And the news is this: there is an exhibition in the works. My friends and colleagues in Stockton have blocked some dates in the autumn of 2024. If all goes as we imagine it might, there will be a show about the book and about the painting in one of the Haggin Museum's galleries. You are all invited.