I have long been fascinated by Madame X, the stunning portrait by John Singer Sargent, so I really enjoyed reading Strapless, a book that explores the life of the mode, Amélie Gautreau, and her relationship with the painter - the painting caused a scandal in Paris, causing socialite Amélie's downfall and, of course, a falling out with Sargent.
I wish there were more books about the relationships between artists and their models.
I read a few pages of this volume over breakfast at Smooch, in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, where everything is fresh, organic and simply delicious. Last weekend, I had their wonderful granola with vanilla yogurt and fresh fruit before dashing off to their nearby flea market.
The book has led me to rediscover Sargent's oeuvre. Even more than Madame X, the painting I find the most magical is Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, below.