In 1872, French artist Edgar Degas traveled to New Orleans to reacquaint himself with his Creole mother’s family. What he found set him on a most unexpected course laying the foundations to become one of the late 19th century’s master painters.
Disillusioned by a lackluster career and haunted by the Prussian siege of Paris and the bloodbath of the Commune, Edgar Degas seeks personal and professional rebirth by visiting his New Orleans family. He is horrified to learn he has exchanged one city in crisis for another as post-Civil War New Orleans is a corrupt town occupied by hostile Union troops and suffering under the heavy hand of Reconstruction. He is further shocked to find his family deeply involved in the violent struggle to reclaim political power at a dangerous cost. Despite the personal and political chaos swirling around him, Degas sketches and paints with fervor and miraculously reinvents himself, transitioning his style from neoclassical to the emerging world of impressionism. He ultimately became one of the masters of this new genre, but how did New Orleans empower Degas to fulfill this destiny? The answer may be found in Creole Son.
Available in print and e-book formats.
“With skill and sensitivity, Llewellyn captures the interaction of art and violence, ugliness and beauty, the transition of an artist, a man and a world.” — Barbara Hambly, author of A Free Man of Color
“Llewellyn deftly imagines the beauty, peril, internecine struggles and seductiveness of late 19th century New Orleans as seen through the troubled artist’s eyes.” — Ciji Ware, author of A Race to Splendor