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on 30 May 2011
Karpeles is well-qualified - as a practising artist and a devoted Proustian - to have undertaken the unprecedented task of assembling references to paintings and painters in Proust's great work. He had a good idea and saw it to publication. (There is, incidentally, a successful French version which is the one I have read, in order to examine Proust's actual texts rather than rely on translations.)
Karpeles sheds new light on Proust's extraordinary novel. His work substantiates his claim in the subtle Introduction that Proust regarded his references to paintings and painters as crucial to the book, not just because they stimulate the reader's visual imagination and evoke emotions and sensations, but also because the ideal - and therefore unreachable - worlds of art correspond to the unattainability of fulfilment in love. The novel of course refers to itself: it too presents an ideal or idealised world as the best paintings do. Proust also wants to show that painters operate unconsciously as well as deliberately: they create images for which words are inadequate. Proust's narrator often says he has no eye for art or for visual description when the opposite is of course the case.
No book is perfect - this one isn't.
(a)I share other reviewers' reservations about the size of certain reproductions (the publishers have not adopted a consistent practice in this regard) and the legibility of some captions. But the book is in other respects well-produced
(b)Karpeles sometimes chooses bizarre examples of the work of an artist mentioned by Proust (would he really have compared Albertine to Rembrandt's Bathsheba?) and does not follow up all the references to all of Proust's allusions either to images in art or to artists.
(c)there is a mystery about "Lebourg and Guillaumin"; Karpeles says nothing about the former but assumes that the latter is the painter Armand Guillaumin, although the text (as other scholars think) seems to be referring to furniture makers not painters
We therefore need a second edition to include better illustrations, a more complete survey of artists, images and paintings, and perhaps references to sculpture (thus entailing a change in the book's English title).
Meanwhile this book is indispensable to keen Proustians.
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on 6 February 2012
A well-produced book, with good illustrations, essential for those of us who wish to visualise the paintings and painters' styles mentioned in Proust's work.

One glaring omission by the author that "...has identified and located all of the paintings to which Proust makes exact reference" is Dante Gabriel Rossetti's 'Ecce Ancilla Domini', named in the text as the inspiration for a budding actress's stage dress but not mentioned here - nor indeed is Rossetti. As Proust was an admirer also of Rossetti's poetry this seems a little unfortunate.

Perhaps it should have been noted in the introductory text that many of the modern photographs reproduced here show paintings after 20th century restorations and as a result may look somewhat different than they did to Proust. Vermeer's 'Diana and her Companions' for instance has now a rather significantly different appearance than it had a century ago. Further, Proust likely saw many paintings only in reproduction in his own time - black and white photographs or engravings for instance. So while a being an excellent visual guide to Proust's great work this volume does not necessarily represent what he actually saw, although this is of course a minor point.
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on 25 January 2016
For anyone in a Proust reading group this book is a boon. A handy visual companion that can be run alongside the general sharing of observations by and on the narrator and narration. We find the relevant group of paintings online and make a little slide show and read out the accompanying quotations from the book. This gives touch points with what we've been reading, usually around a couple of hundred pages, this is about half of each of the seven volumes of the original publication, though not in the original translation, we've chosen the Terence Kilmartin revision of C. K. Scott Moncrieff's original English translation.

This garnering by Eric Karpeles of fine art referenced in the novel also aids the reading of Proust more generally as a visual artist in text. So many passages evidence this: the way light strikes through the windows of a train carriage - cubism; the girls running along the sea front - futurism; the angles and points in the gait of a soldier - vorticism. It's often tempting to break off reading to look up artists and art movements contemporary with Proust.

It's called Paintings in Proust - A Visual Companion to 'In Search of Lost Time' and that's exactly how we are using it - as a companion to our reading group.
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on 13 March 2009
This is a delicious book and has already given me a lot of background understanding to reading Proust's "In search of lost time". I would recommend it as an introduction to reading his actual work.
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on 8 November 2015
I thought this book was such an extravagance, but it really helps any reader of Proust. With each picture there is an explanation of its place in the novel, so that you can happily look at it separately as it brings the writing back to you.

It is wonderful to be able to see the paintings that Proust describes or refers to for yourself.
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on 24 July 2010
As a fan of both Proust and of painting I was looking forward to reading this. The format is simple enough: the author, or perhaps compiler would be a better word as this is rather an academic exercise, has taken every reference to a painting in Proust's 3,500-page novel, In Search of Lost Time, and provided us with an image of the artwork alongside the relevant paragraph from the book. Karpeles, an American artist, has obviously done a great deal of research: a labour of love, no doubt, and the result is very appealing, with over 200 paintings covered. But this is a book to be taken in small doses, such is the richness and the repetitive nature of the format.
What Karpeles has really achieved is to remind us what a brilliant writer Proust was and how many works of art he referred to in his great masterpiece. This is an admirable achievement, but it doesn't add up to much more than a pleasurable treat, something to dip into now and again.
My biggest complaint is with the pointlessly small type size of the captions that accompany each illustration: although the quality of the colour printing is excellent, anyone with less than perfect eyesight will find it a struggle to read, even though there is plenty of space on every page and the captions could easily have been made bigger.
Much as I enjoyed being reminded of Proust's incomparable writing, and also the reproductions of some beautiful paintings, I was glad that I'd borrowed the book from the library rather than forked out £25 for something I would be unlikely to spend much time reading.
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on 3 July 2015
My husband is very pleased with this book, I bought it for his birthday. Very useful to read alongside Proust. A beautifully presented book.
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on 23 January 2017
As advertised - great book in good condition. Arrived promptly.
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on 28 February 2017
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