Pictures at An Exhibition

Pictures at An Exhibition

Book - 2009
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Set in a Paris darkened by World War II, Sara Houghteling's sweeping and sensuous debut novel tells the story of a son's quest to recover his family's lost masterpieces, looted by the Nazis during the occupation. Born to an art dealer and his pianist wife, Max Berenzon is forbidden from entering the family business for reasons he cannot understand. He reluctantly attends medical school, reserving his true passion for his father's beautiful and brilliant gallery assistant, Rose Clément. When Paris falls to the Nazis, the Berenzons survive in hiding. They return in 1944 to find that their priceless collection has vanished: gone are the Matisses, the Picassos, and a singular Manet of mysterious importance. Madly driven to recover his father's paintings, Max navigates a torn city of corrupt art dealers, black marketers, Résistants, and collaborators. His quest will reveal the tragic disappearance of his closest friend, the heroism of his lost love, and the truth behind a devastating family secret. Written with tense drama and a historian's eye for detail, Houghteling's novel draws on the real-life stories of France's preeminent art-dealing familes and the forgotten biography of the only French woman to work as a double agent inside the Nazis' looted art stronghold. Pictures at an Exhibition conjures the vanished collections, the lives of the artists and their dealers, the exquisite romance, and the shattering loss of a singular era. It is a work of astonishing ambition and beauty from an immensely gifted new novelist.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307266859
0307266850
Branch Call Number: F HOU

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library1172 Nov 25, 2011

This is an excellent book. I believe it's the author's debut novel -- hopefully she'll write more.

w
worminthewoodwork
Mar 10, 2011

A fabulous historical ficton set in Paris before, during and after the atrocities of WWII. I was aware before reading the book of the looting of masterpieces but not aware of the extent. Although fiction, much of Houghteling's book is based on facts, and was a book I couldn't put down. She seamlessly blends historical fact with fictional romance and storylines, which kept me captivated. I was so interested in the loss of great art I'll be following up by reading the book The Rape of Europa and watching the documentary.

e
EmilyEm
May 31, 2010

Max, son of a legendary Paris art dealer, grows up to see WWII change his privileged life to one of hiding and the loss of all the artwork his family owns as the Nazis systematically try to appropriate artwork for art's sake and anything Jewish as a matter of course. One person who stands in the way is the remarkable Rose Clermont, whose story is based on a real person.

Wonderful first novel.

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