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The American painter Emma Dial : a novel
Samantha Peale
Adult Fiction PEALE

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From Publishers' Weekly:

From former Jeff Koons studio assistant Peale, an introspective examination of art, talent and motivation in the contemporary New York art scene. Emma Dial is 32 and the right hand to prominent New York artist Michael Freiburg: Michael dreams up the ideas and Emma-armed with her skill and his trust-does the painting. Through their stormy six-year relationship, Emma has reached a certain level of comfort, painting five or six major works a year at $20,000 apiece. Yet as art becomes work and her talent is appropriated to someone else's vision, Emma finds it increasingly difficult to visit her own studio, much less come up with ideas of her own. Michael and Emma, of course, also sleep together. When Michael's friend and rival Philip Cleary enters the picture, choices become increasingly confusing for Emma as Philip pushes her to break free of Michael and focus on her own work. There's a controlled neatness to the novel that feels at odds with the fury and passions of its artist characters, and the quiet late-book revelations aren't exactly inspired. All in all, it's fine, if a bit light. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The title character in Peale's debut is a gifted artist who paints for someone else. Famous artist Michael Freiburg develops ideas and directs Emma's work, who applies paint to canvas. Through their relationship, working and physical, Emma survives as an artist in New York, but Michael's ego and appetites keep her from her own art. While she has her own appetites-including cigarettes, coffee, wine, chocolate, music, and friends-Emma feels guilt over her empty studio and the old life she abandoned. There is no more swimming, no walks to her Brooklyn studio, no biking, no drawing, and no painting for herself. Already discontented and unsure of Michael, she encounters another successful, magnetic artist named Philip Cleary. Through a powerful connection with Philip, Emma painfully detaches herself from Michael to begin her own career. The reader is drawn deeply into Emma's world as well as the art world of New York, and feels all of the protagonist's highs and lows. Peale's unapologetic style feels bold and genuine.-Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Emma Dial
Age: 32
Paints Michael's ideas; finds it difficult to come up with her own creative ideas; involved with Michael.

Michael Freiburg
Prominent artist; uses Emma to paint his ideas.

Philip Cleary
Michael's friend and rival; pushes Emma to break free from Michael and focus on her own work.

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