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Victorine Meurent – The Muse, Musician & Painter

Victorine, a novel by Drema Drudge, tells the amazing story of Victorine Meurent, Edouard Manet’s favorite model. This first-person story captures a time and place from the unlikeliest of sources – the model for Manet’s “scandalous” painting, Olympia.

Olympia - Edouard Manet Painting ( Victorine Meurent is the model)
Olympia – Edouard Manet Painting ( Victorine Meurent is the model)

What art historians omitted in their books was the fact that Victorine was not just a model, but also an accomplished musician and painter herself! The esteemed Paris Salon even accepted one of Victorine’s paintings, a huge accomplishment for any artist of those times.

Drudge endeavors to revive the story of Victorine, who has been overlooked and forgotten by art historians. Victorine was a woman of artistic influence. The author cleverly incorporates real-life descriptions of Victorine’s paintings recently rediscovered and long thought lost.

Le Jour des Rameaux by Victorine Meurent (c.1880)
Victorine Meurent Painting Entitled Palm Sunday, 1880

A Story of a Young Girl Who Dealt with Life’s Harsh Blows

We read about the chilly relationship between Victorine and her milliner mother, who loves the family dog more than her daughter. This leads to a desperate rash act of young Victorine, that will ultimately haunt her and her art later on.

Both parents betray young Victorine, in their dire need for money to keep themselves afloat in the poor district of Paris. Victorine is alone & left with nothing but her sense of duty. Her parents allow a new photographer of the time to take advantage of her.

Edouard Manet, The Railway - Victorine Meurent is the model
Edouard Manet, The Railway, 1873 – Victorine Meurent, model

Victorine Meurent & her encounters with the French Impressionists & the Paris Salon

During Victorine’s hours spent with the great Edouard Manet, you will learn about the meaning of art and Manet’s thoughts when he is creating art. Through these interactions with Manet, Drudge immerses you into the mindset of the revolutionary impressionists of the 19th century. The “greats” such as Manet, Stevens, Degas, Monet, Morisot are part of this story.

Alfred Stevens Painting - The Parisian Sphinx - Victorine Meurent is the model
Alfred Stevens Painting – The Parisian Sphinx
Victorine Meurent is the model

Victorine tells the story of one Parisian woman with none of the advantages of her male counterparts. However, against all odds, she incredibly finds her way into art school and, ultimately, to the Paris Salon.

Painting by painting, Victorine Meurent grows both as a person, a woman and as an artist. She finds and accepts friendships as they come her way. She follows her passion to wherever it leads her, allowing it to freely reign her artistic expression.

A Story of Love, War & the Personal Battle of One Woman

This book transports you into the terrible times of the Franco-Prussian War, art and passion. It is also a time in history when being a woman and poor was crippling and without opportunities. Victorine, however was one woman with an indomitable spirit, who fought back and won!

Victorine-Louise Meurent painting entitled "Uarda", 1874
Victorine-Louise Meurent painting entitled “Uarda”, 1874

Whether Victorine Meurent is indulging in sensual pleasures, carnal pursuits or spending her last franc on food for a wayward boy, this wonderful book is a tale of a life fully lived and colorfully painted, by both the artist and the novelist.

This kunstlerroman is the story of the development of a female artist of the 19th century. It will have you cheering for Victorine Meurent and her paint brush.

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