Art Tales Book Club | “Girl in Hyacinth Blue” by Susan Vreeland
Saturday, July 22, 2023
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
There are many ways to look, interpret, and tell the story of art. This book club will adventure through the fiction and nonfiction of books, journals, and articles alike! Join us for our first month exploring a fantastical fiction story of provenance–the history of an artwork’s ownership–Girl in Hyacinth Blue by Susan Vreeland.
“Girl in Hyacinth Blue” by Susan Vreeland
This New York Times bestseller explores the life and many owners of an imaginary Vermeer painting in an “impressive debut collection” of linked stories (Publishers Weekly).
A Dutch painting of a young girl survives three and a half centuries of loss, flood, anonymity, theft, secrecy, and even the Holocaust. This is the story of its owners whose lives are influenced by its beauty and mystery. Despite their many troubles and unsatisfied longings, the girl in hyacinth blue has the power to inspire love in all its human variety.
This luminous story begins in the present day when a professor invites a colleague to his home to see a painting that he has kept secret for decades. The professor swears it is a Vermeer—but why has he hidden this important work for so long? The reasons unfold in a series of events that trace the ownership of the painting back to World War II and Amsterdam, and still further back to the moment of the work’s inspiration. As the painting moves through each owner’s hands, what was long hidden quietly surfaces, illuminating poignant moments in multiple lives. Susan Vreeland’s characters remind us, through their love of this mysterious painting, how beauty transforms and why we reach for it, what lasts, and what in our lives is singular and unforgettable.
“Vreeland’s book is a work of art.” —New York Post