The Painted Kiss
By Elizabeth Hickey
(Washington Square Press, Paperback, 9780743492614, 288pp.)
Publication Date: March 7, 2006
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In this passionate and atmospheric debut novel, Elizabeth Hickey reimagines the tumultuous relationship between the Viennese painter Gustav Klimt and Emilie Flöge, the woman who posed for Klimt's masterpiece The Kiss -- and whose name he uttered with his dying breath.
Vienna in 1886 was a city of elegant cafés, grand opera houses, and a thriving and adventurous artistic community. It is here where the twelve-year-old Emilie meets the controversial libertine and painter. Hired by her bourgeois father for basic drawing lessons, Klimt introduces Emilie to a subculture of dissolute artists, wanton models, and decadent patrons that both terrifies and inspires her. The Painted Kiss follows Emilie as she blossoms from a naïve young girl to one of Europe's most exclusive couturiers -- and Klimt's most beloved model and mistress. A provocative love story that brings to life Vienna's cultural milieu, The Painted Kiss is as compelling as a work by Klimt himself.
Elizabeth Hickey is the author of The Painted Kiss. She earned an MFA from Columbia University and lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband and son.
"[A] decorous...investigation of art and artifice...The Painted Kiss throws [the Klimt] mystery into stark relief."
-- The New York Times
"Hickey's language is sensual, lush, and unhurried...[an] expressively written debut."
-- Publishers Weekly
"[R]ichly atmospheric and haunting."
-- Lauren Belfer, author of City of Light
"A graceful imagining."
-- Kirkus Reviews