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Gustav Klimt, one of the great painters of fin de si cle Austria--and the subject of Helen Mirren's latest film, Woman in Gold
--takes center stage in this passionate and atmospheric debut novel, which reimagines the tumultuous relationship between the Viennese painter and Emilie Fl ge, the woman who posed for his masterpiece The Kiss
, and whose name he uttered with his dying breath.
Vienna in 1886 was a city of elegant caf's, 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 na ve 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.
"[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