The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

Dominic Smith / Sep 21, 2019

The Last Painting of Sara de Vos 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

  • Title: The Last Painting of Sara de Vos
  • Author: Dominic Smith
  • ISBN: 9781743439951
  • Page: 104
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 this extraordinary novel, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, US based Australian writer Dominic Smith brilliantly bridges the historical and the contemporary, tracking a colThis 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 this extraordinary novel, The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, US based Australian writer Dominic Smith brilliantly 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 Australian 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 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.

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      104 Dominic Smith
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      Published :2018-011-01T09:07:50+00:00

    About "Dominic Smith"

      • Dominic Smith

        Dominic grew up in Sydney, Australia and now lives in Austin, Texas His short fiction has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and appeared in numerous journals and magazines, including The Atlantic Monthly and The Chicago Tribune.Dominic is the author of four novels, most recently of The Last Painting of Sara de Vos forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux and Bright and Distant Shores a selection for Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2011, and shortlisted for Australia s Vance Palmer Fiction Prize and The Age Book of the Year His awards include the Dobie Paisano Fellowship from the Texas Institute of Letters, the Sherwood Anderson Fiction Prize, and the Gulf Coast Fiction Prize In 2006, his debut novel The Mercury Visions of Louis Daguerre was selected for the Barnes and Noble Discover Great News Writers Program It also received the Steven Turner Prize for First Fiction from the Texas Institute of Letters Dominic s second novel, The Beautiful Miscellaneous, was a Booklist Editors Pick and optioned for a film by Southpaw Entertainment.Dominic serves on the fiction faculty in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and has taught recently at the University of Texas at Austin, Rice University, and Southern Methodist University.


    227 Comments

    1. I know that it is only April but I might have found my favorite book of 2016! Holy cow was this brilliant! I've never heard of Dominic Smith before this book but he's a phenomenal writer and what a story this is! This novel has it all! Beautiful writing, well fleshed out characters, a wonderful story, and feels yes feels! I learned so much about the art world and about Dutch female painters in the 17th century. I listened to this book on audio. You know you are listening to a good audiobook when [...]


    2. Regrets come into our lives from our earliest moments until the very last. Sometimes they are as light as the wings of a butterfly causing but a brief pause. Other times they are heavy-ladden with pressure forcefully leaning on the heart. And the indescribable ache now takes up a permanent residence.Dominic Smith presents his remarkable novel in time spans that drift from 1631 to 1957 to 2000. Each time period is layered expertly like parchment paper that settles oh so lightly allowing the reade [...]


    3. This beautifully written book was a pleasure to read.When I was in high school back in the olden days of the mid eighties we had an art teacher named Mr. Gonzalez. He was a cool guy, would tell jokes and liked to hang out with my crowd of ne’er do wells and also rans. My senior year he talked me and a friend into using our last elective for his class. “But I don’t know anything about art appreciation, and no talent whatsoever,” I rebutted to his invitation. “That’s why you should tak [...]


    4. Update: This just went on sale for $2.99 today -- Kindle special. Great deal!Gorgeous descriptions from the very beginning. the very end!!!At times I felt I was in the same room with EllieI could relate to her rebellious spirit. Other times, I was completely enchanted by the framing restoration details itself. The relationship between women & 'prejudice' when it came to art was such a puzzle and 'tragic'. I thought of "The Blazing World", by Siri Hustvedt - who went to great extremes in her [...]


    5. Here we have it: my authentic review. It has not been forged in any way, but a 17th century painting has and it's about to come into contact with the real one 40 years later.The narrative starts with the artist herself and the inspiration or more accurately, the grief, for the painting. The story then moves to the latest owner, Marty, and the switcharoo that happens during a dinner party only to be discovered months later it's a fraud. The story then moves to the artist, Ellie, who was hired to [...]


    6. I see the painting titled , "At the End of a Wood" in my mind from the perfectly detailed and beautiful description in the beginning of the book . For a minute I forget what I just read about Sara de Vos's character being a blend of the biographical details of several Dutch women painters in the 17th century and I'm ready to go find the image online . I'm immediately disappointed when I realize the only image I'll have of this painting is what's in my mind's eye . That disappointment dissipates [...]


    7. In 1631 Sara de Vos is the first woman painter to be admitted to the Guild of St Luke’s in Holland. It’s the Dutch Golden Age, the time of Vermeer, Rembrandt and Hals. It’s unusual for women to paint anything other than still life, but Sara has produced a haunting winter scene which will be known as At the Edge of a Wood.Skip forward to the late 1950’s, it’s New York and the painting sits above the bed of a rich middle aged lawyer, a descendent of the original owner. In Brooklyn, a you [...]


    8. The Last Painting of Sara de Vos is a beautifully written and expertly crafted novel that will leave you not only dreaming of the landscape of a mysterious painting, but also of the times and places that connect together throughout. The austere backdrop of seventeenth century Amsterdam provides the setting for one thread to this story. New York City and Manhattan during the late 1950s is wonderfully atmospheric, jumping between art galleries, universities, jazz clubs and the homes and offices of [...]


    9. 4.5 stars.As was the case in The Goldfinch, an enigmatic 17th century Dutch painting is the focus of everything that happens in this novel. In three alternating narratives Smith provides us with a life of the painter, Sara de Vos, a life of its long-time owner, Marty de Groot and a life of the young woman who is called upon to forge it, Ellie Shipley. When the painting is stolen and replaced by a forgery Marty will forge a new identity in order to track down the people responsible for its theft [...]


    10. This excellent novel took me somewhat by surprise. I was expecting to be interested in this tale of the art world, theft and possible forgery, Netherlands and the art of the 17th century, but instead I was captivated. This is such a fascinating story, taking place in 3 distinct time eras: 17th century Netherlands, 1950s New York City and Sydney, Australia of 2000. What might potentially become dangerously confused in less sure hands, is here intriguing and pulls the reader on through the pages a [...]


    11. My Review:I liked this book, which was spread over three time periods.The artist Sara de Vos narrates the time period of Amsterdam in 1635. This is a fictional character based upon the painter Sarah van Baalbergen. She and her husband are struggling artists trying to make ends meet. Marty De Groot narrates New York in the 1950’s. He is the private owner of the Sara de Vos painting. He has inherited his fortune from his wealthy Dutch family. Ellie Shipley narrates Australia in 2000. She was inv [...]


    12. The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith is a book that I had been reluctant to read and this was largely due to my dislike of another Novel on Art which I struggled through. However The Last Painting of Sara de Vos was such an engaging and interesting read and I am so glad I picked this one up and had the chance to experience Dominic Smith's wonderful writing.I loved the plot and the wonderful sense of time and place. The story switches between three timelines and locations from New Yo [...]


    13. The painting ‘At the Edge of a Wood’ by Sara De Vos is quietly looking over the sleeping couple Marty and Rachel de Groot. It was passed down to him by his father, and all the fathers before for some 600 years. Marty, only in his forties, lives in New York City with all the wealth and security one of his stature can indulge in; the year is 1958. The story easily goes back and forth from ’58 to 1637 as we read about the tragic life of painter Sara De Vos and how her impressive painting has [...]


    14. This is the story of one painting and three people whose lives intersect because of this painting. First, the artist, Sara de Vos. A female dutch painter who is the first woman to be allowed into the Guild of St. Luke in Amsterdam, which did not admit many female painters. She paints, At the Edge of a Wood, a winter scene with a girl looking out at skaters over a frozen river. Next, Marty de Groot, a wealthy gentleman living in New York, and the owner of Sara's painting until the painting is sto [...]


    15. 1600s, Holland, Sara is the first woman admitted to the artist's guild. Her husband was a painter of landscapes, but at that time woman were expected to paint only still life's. After a terrible tragedy changes the fabric of their family, Sara paints a landscape. This painting will affect the fortunes of others down the centuries.Late 1950's Ellie Shipley is a young woman working on her thesis of Dutch woman painters, she is also working as a cleaner and restorer. She is asked to do something th [...]


    16. 4.5 - rounded up.This is a wonderfully woven tale of the art world and its intrigues that blends two stories, set in the 1600s, the 1950s and the year 2000. The intrigue focuses around a painting by a Dutch woman, Sara de Vos, the first woman admitted to the Guild of St. Luke, who has broken the imposed boundaries of her time by painting a landscape instead of a still-life. This painting, owned by a very wealthy collector in 1958, is stolen, and a young artist, named Ellie, is commissioned to pa [...]


    17. If you like your historical fiction well written and well researched then this is the book for you. I really enjoyed what I learned about Dutch painters, especially the women, and about the Guilds which apparently controlled everything the artists did.The writing style was slow and quiet, restrained and informative. The author managed to move between three different times and points of view without ever losing my interest, although I was always waiting a little to get back to Sara as the charact [...]


    18. Really, really good - an engaging and very well written story told from three points of view - the artist Sara DeVos (from the 1600's Netherlands), DeVos painting owner Marty (from late 1950's New York into the 2000's) and Australian art historian Ellie (also from late 1950's to 2000's).I loved how the all the threads came together in the end and all the bits and pieces in the narratives about the world of painting and forgeries. At first, I didn't care for the "Marty thread," but I ended up lik [...]


    19. What a jewel box of a novel. Beautiful, elegant, haunting, and not a word out of place. It is restrained without being distant, moving without any overwrought pyrotechnics. I found it to be a quietly compelling page-turner about art, regret, loss, and finding meaning within the constraints of one's circumstances. Three separate narratives--1950s New York, 1630s Amsterdam, and 2000 Sydney--are interwoven seamlessly, building on each other in profound ways, all anchored by a painting. (On a side n [...]


    20. This is a perfect historical fiction read. A combination of history, masterful penmanship, an excellent plot, a successful combination of the three different characters's stories into one painting, and a storyline that keeps the reader spellbound.During the Fifties, Ellie Shipley, a young rebellious, angry, reckless and lonely young art student from Brooklyn decides to lash back at her own life by forging an ancient old painting of the Dutch Golden Age. As she proceeded with the painting, and re [...]


    21. “How do you know you didn’t ruin my life forty years ago?” “From what I can see, you never looked back.” “I looked back, believe me,” she says. “That makes two of us.” Firstly, let me say to those who have read this novel, I have no idea why the summary made me think I was going to be getting this: For those of you who haven’t read it and are considering it, it’s not that. :-)**CAUTION, this review contains (mild) spoilers** In 1631, Sara de Vos is a painter ahead of her [...]


    22. Well-written and cleverly constructed, I’m happy to have genuinely enjoyed my time with this book. It’s admittedly a bit slow to start, but that investment more than pays off in the form of a fascinating story, complex characters, and a beautifully executed ending. As evidenced by the title, the art of painting is the backdrop against which this story is told. I’ve never taken an interest, nor am I learned on the subject to any degree, but still I found the artistic descriptions to be exqu [...]


    23. Single word adjectives kept coming to mind as I read, "languid", "dolorous", "frilly", "exacting", "void" doubt inspired by the flood of description written on every page of "The Last Painting of Sara De Vos". The novel is a feat of detail, following not only the item, the painting, but the action and physical art itself with its movement on carefully prepared surfaces, variable brushstrokes and the medium applied. I was entranced by the fictional Sara De Vos in 16th Century Netherlands as I wat [...]


    24. Dominic Smith masterfully tells the story of lives intertwined over the centuries by a painting. At the Edge of the Wood by Sara de Vos a 17th Century Dutch painter is one of the few landscape paintings created by a woman in that era. While women were admitted to the master painters' Guild of St. Luke's, they were relegated to still life painting, leaving the landscapes to men. The painting, done in the 1630's, is born of grief after the death of Sara's daughter.The painting has been owned by an [...]


    25. This fine novel plunges us into the world of art restoration and its close cousin, art forgery. Ellie Shipley is a graduate student studying Dutch women artists of the 17th century and eking out a living restoring old works of art. When she is asked to paint a copy of a 17th century painting "At the End of a Wood" from a photograph, she is tempted into doing it to see if she can. The ramifications of her actions will resonate through her life and finally catch up with her some 40 years later. In [...]


    26. A Depiction and a LieBefore that first line of pale chalk, before the underdrawing fleshes out into shapes and proportions, there is a stab of grief for all the things she didn't get to paint. The finches wheeling in the rafters of the barn, Cornelis reading in the arbor, Tomas bent over in his roses in the flower garden, apple blossoms, walnuts beside oysters, Kathrijn in the full bloom of her short life, Barent sleeping in a field of lilacs, the Gypsies in the market, late-night revelers in th [...]


    27. This is the kind of novel I love best of all. Beautifully written, well-constructed, well-researched and, best of all, excitingly plotted. The Last Painting of Sara de Vos tells the story of how one painting affects the lives of people through whose hands it passes through the centuries – a fascinating idea in itself. Essentially we get three characters and their stories – the author of the painting itself, Sara, and her life in 17th century Holland (beautifully depicted), an art historian w [...]


    28. Who'd have thunk my words would have ended up in a New York Times Ad for this book? They did, and I'm kvelling:What a brilliant melding of subject and atmosphere. This book reads as if it were a 17th century Dutch Masterpiece -- beautiful, clear, complex and infused with both joy and longing. As good a novel as I've ever read that uses art and art history as a way of elucidating the human heart. Highly recommended!


    29. A winter scene at twilight. The girl stands in the foreground against a silver birch, a pale hand pressed to its bark, staring out at the skaters on the frozen river.A single cataract of daylight at the horizon, a meadow dazzled beneath a rent in the clouds, then the revelation of her bare feet in the snow…Somehow she’s walked into this scene from outside the painting, trudged onto the canvas from our world, not hers.Dominic Smith opens his elegantly-wrought novel with this haunting descript [...]


    30. This novel is a brilliant little gem. Dominic Smith has painted a luminous work of art with his beautiful prose. The Last Painting of Sara de Vos is an elegantly layered story covering three narratives – 1630s (Sara de Vos), 1950s (Ellie Shipley) to 2000 – where the artists and paintings seem to merge like doppelgängers. This is beautifully written, and well researched, story of art, deception, and unrevealed grief.A solid 4+ stars.


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