In Dominic Smith’s spellbinding new novel, The Last Painting of Sara De Vos, one 17th-century painting changes the course of three lives: the woman who paints it, the lawyer who inherits it, and the art history student who forges it. This event serves as the launch party for the novel.
In 1631, Sara de Vos becomes the first woman to be admitted as a master painter to the Guild of St. Luke in Holland. Strict rules at the time allowed women to paint only still lifes, never landscapes. And yet, three hundred years later, her only known remaining work is a landscape. It hangs in the bedroom of a wealthy Manhattanite, a descendant of the original owner. In Brooklyn, an Australian graduate student struggling to stay afloat agrees to paint a forgery of the landscape for a dicey art dealer. This decision will shape her life and one day threaten to unravel it entirely. Half a century later, she’s a prominent curator, mounting an exhibition—and both versions of the landscape are en route to her museum.
Author Ben Fountain praised it, saying it is “quite simply, one of the best novels I have ever read, and as close to perfect as any book I’m likely to encounter in my reading life.” Ben Fountain and DMA Chief Conservator Mark Leonard will join Smith on-stage in conversation. The author of three previous novels and the recipient of Dobie Paisano and Michener fellowships, Dominic Smith grew up in Australia and now lives in Austin.