Fear in Writing: Art. Stolen. Writing.

Today in Literary History

Today in Literary History...December 14, 1907: Rudyard Kipling receives the Nobel prize for literature, the first English-language writer to do so.ud

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Art. Stolen. Writing.

Program in an Artistic Soiree, Study 1, Degas
I love art.  I love Abstract Expressionism and Cubism and Impressionism and Surrealism.  I love paintings and statues and pottery and mixed media.  I love what art brings to a space, to a life, to a moment.  I love what emotion can be contained within a piece of art--and what emotion lies in wait, only to be released upon interaction with a viewer.

Chez Tortini, Manet
 A few weeks ago, I began reading Seven Days in the Art World by Sarah Thornton.  It is a fascinating look at the different facets of the artistic realm through the eyes of an anthropologist.  She dissects the meaning, the purpose, the people, and even the locations of some of the most important events in art--museums, art schools, art magazines, auctions, biennales, and art shows.  It really opened my eyes to all the different planes that make up the complicated shape that is Art.

And in reading this book, I have awakened in myself a long subdued passion for the stuff--Art.  I DVR any art special that appeals--from Art & the City (unapologetically cheesy) to a documentary I watched just last night called 'Stolen.'  I subsribe to Artforum magazine.

The Concert, Vermeer
 'Stolen' is an award-winning film by Rebecca Dreyfus that follows renowned art detective Harold Smith as he tracks down 13 priceless works of art, all stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.  It was "the largest art heist in modern times"  (stolenthefilm.com).   Among them, Vermeer's 'The Concert,' "one of only 35 of the masters surviving works"  and "the world's most valuable missing painting."  A tragic loss for the world and a fascinating story of something that shouldn't have happened.  Involving murder, ex-con art thiefs, an eye-patch wearing detective, smuggling, and 16th century paint chips mailed to a reporter--this story has all the pieces of a great mystery.

And it has revived my desire to write an art mystery book.  I have read many, some disappointing, some quite fascinating.  But could I do it?  I don't know.  But I want to!  Not yet...someday.

What world inspires you?  What realm do you long to break into through writing?


  1. I don't know if I've ever read an art mystery book - but I love the idea!

  2. Michele - Fascinating question! You know, I think we all have those topics that just inspire our imaginations. So it makes sense that you'd want to write about art. It's an absolutely fascinating topic!!! May I recommend Ian Rankin's Doors Open? It's a new series he's begun and this novel features an art-world mystery.

  3. I think a mystery book about stolen art would be fascinating. I hope you write one. There's so much you could do with it. Keep us posted.

  4. I love the idea of an art mystery. The film 'Stolen' sounds great. I shall have to see it.

    Personally I'm tempted to write a historical mystery, but that's, to borrow your phrase, in the 'not yet... someday' basket for me.