Composed with the skills of a master, The Goldfinch is a haunted odyssey through present-day America and a drama of enthralling force and acuity. It begins with a boy. Theo Decker, a 13-year-old New Yorker, miraculously survives an accident that kills his mother. Abandoned by his father, Theo is taken in by the family of a wealthy friend. Bewildered by his strange new home on Park Avenue, disturbed by schoolmates who don't know how to talk to him, and tormented above all by his longing for his mother, he clings to the one thing that reminds him of her: a small, mysteriously captivating painting that ultimately draws Theo into the criminal world.
The Goldfinch combines unforgettably vivid characters, mesmeriz-ing language, and breathtaking suspense, while plumbing with a philosopher's calm the deepest mysteries of love, identity, and art. It is a beautiful, stay-up-all-night-and-tell-your-friends triumph, an old-fashioned story of loss and obsession, survival and self-invention, and the ruthless machinations of fate.FIA book discussions focus on works of fiction and non-fiction related to art, art museums, or FIA collections. The first meeting for each book sets the stage by exploring artists and artwork related to the selected book. Two weeks later, the book is discussed. These free programs are offered on Wednesdays at 1:30p.
James Fox earned his degrees from the University of Cambridge and currently serves as a Research Fellow at Gonville & Caius College and specializes in 20th-century art at the University of Cambridge's History of Art Department. He has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, and writes and presents art documentaries for the BBC.
Antoine Watteau, one of the most mysterious painters who ever lived, is the inspiration for this delightful investigation of the tangled relationship between art and life. Weaving together historical fact and personal reflections, the influential art critic Jed Perl reconstructs the amazing story of this pioneering bohemian artist who, although he died in 1721 when he was only 36, has influenced innumerable painters and writers in the centuries since. Perl creates an astonishing experience by gathering his reflections on this "master of silken surfaces and elusive emotions" in the form of an alphabet—a fairy tale for adults—giving us a new way to think about art. This is a hunt for the treasure of Watteau's life and vision that encompasses the glamour and intrigue of 18th-century Paris, the riotous history of Harlequin and Pierrot, and the work of such modern giants as Cézanne, Picasso, and Samuel Beckett. It is a book to savor, to share, and to return to again and again.
Our first meeting will set the stage by exploring the work of Antoine Watteau. Two weeks later, we'll meet to discuss the book. Books are available in the Museum Shop.