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Missing Matisse (Inanna Poetry & Fiction)
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Who is the mysterious woman in the Matisse drawing, “Woman in a Blouse, Dreaming?” What secrets is she hiding? Chloe Rea grew up with the Matisse sketch and believes the woman in the famous Rumanian blouse is her grandmother. But the sketch now belongs to Adam Jensen, who inherited it after his brother’s sudden death in the south of France. Now Chloe wants the sketch back, but someone else is willing to kill for it. When a prominent art dealer in Toronto is murdered, Chloe and Adam flee to France to walk in the footsteps of Matisse and the beautiful Russian named Lydia. Her remarkable story, set amid the darkness and treachery of wartime Nice, holds the key to a missing masterpiece. Missing Matisse is a novel with a puzzle, set in the contemporary world of art theft and the historical reality of World War II, France. The heart of the story is the enigmatic and complex Lydia Delectorskaya, a Russian orphan who became Matisse’s muse, model, caregiver, administrator, and companion for twenty years. Lydia Delectorskaya is a fascinating figure, though little is known about her life after Matisse’s death. Brief accounts of her relationship with Matisse are noted in Hilary Spurling’s biography Matisse The Master (2005). While the author has held true to those facts, she has also imagined an inner life for Lydia, one that comes from her study of the paintings and her knowledge of the history of Nice and Vence during World War II. In Missing Matisse, Jan Rehner gives Lydia a voice, and pays tribute to her remarkable contribution to some of Matisse’s greatest paintings.
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