Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Other Three Sisters

**************************************** My third novel, The Little Women, has a Balthus painting, The Three Sisters, on the cover. This is an essential image for the novel, because the final scene invokes the painting (also true in my first novel, Objects, in which the final scene invokes The Arnolfini Wedding). I was able to persuade the art director for the FSG hardcover, the brilliant Susan Mitchell, that the cover really needed this particular image, and she agreed. But then the first jacket design proof came through, and to my surprise, while there was a Balthus painting of The Three Sisters, alright -- it was the wrong painting. Balthus revisited a number of subjects and scenarios in his lifetime, and these three sisters were represented several times over the decades. The painting I needed for the jacket was a different, earlier one. This painting on the proof did not match the final scene in the novel at all. Finally, an image of the Balthus painting I had in mind was located. It was a relief, too, when Picador agreed to use the painting on the paperback edition a year later.

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