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The intrigue takes place during a historic period and is closely based on the artist’s biography. It begins as these sons of migrants reach adolescence in the Paris of the Belle Epoque. Montmartre, the Quartier Latin and Sucy en Brie – where the Halevy live – provide the background against which the romantic story of two street urchins develops with the help of the Gandara brothers.

Throughout the novel, the reader follows the painter’s growing success and gets acquainted with major witnesses of the time who frequent literary salons and artists’ dens in Paris and Versailles : Robert de Montesquiou, Colette, James MacNeill Whistler, Johannes Gravier, Verlaine and many others.

Jean Dara discreetly reveals his secret attraction for men and tells us about the understanding expressed by Antonio, himself a seducer. The author shares with us the dilemma of the painter torn between his family, his work and his social obligations. He writes about Manuel, their younger brother, who sculpts statues of animals, while unveiling the mystic side of Paris in 1900 where fortune-tellers, mediums and Masonic circles coexist with dandyism.

Three artists with different destinies. One in the shadow of Sarah Bernhardt’s theatre, one in search of spirituality in Rodin’s entourage, and Antonio, under full light, revered by his younger siblings.

The book is published by L’Harmattan. It is possible to acquire it by clicking there.

Antonio de La Gandara

The gentleman painter of the Belle Epoque

Novel by Jean Dara (252 pages)

Translated from the French by Barbara Greenland

L’Harmattan publisher ISBN: 978-2-343-10786-8

A monograph of Antonio de La Gandara was published when he was still alive and as his works already hung on the walls of museums.

In 2011, his first biography was proposed to the public. Today, he becomes the protagonist of a novel.

Jean Dara, the stage name chosen by Edouard de La Gandara when he was working with Sarah Bernhardt, tells us all about his brother.