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I am Madame X by Gioia Diliberto
In 1884, John Singer Sargent unveiled in Paris his most famous portrait, Madame X. The woman's bold pose, provocative dress, and alabaster skin caused a scandal in Paris and ended Sargent's career there, and he moved to England where he made his fortune continuing to do portraits of wealthy people. The Madame X of his portrait was an American-born beauty, Virginie Gautreau, whose bold behavior was already the subject of gossip in French society. Gioia Diliberto has written a fictional account of her life based on what little is known about her. I am Madame X is part historical novel, from antebellum Louisiana to Belle Epoque Paris, and part art history about the creation of a famous work of art. The Rocky Mountain News says, "Diliberto has done a masterful job of both holding close to what facts are known about Gautreau and Sargent, and creating anew in a rich and satisfyingly literary way."