The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith

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Amsterdam, 1631: Sara de Vos becomes the first woman to be admitted as a master painter to the city's Guild of St. Luke. Though women do not paint landscapes (they are generally restricted to indoor subjects), a wintry outdoor scene haunts Sara: She cannot shake the image of a young girl from a nearby village, standing alone beside a silver birch at dusk, staring out at a group of skaters on the frozen river below. Defying the expectations of her time, she decides to paint it.


New York City, 1957: The only known surviving work of Sara de Vos, At the Edge of a Wood, hangs in the bedroom of a wealthy Manhattan lawyer, Marty de Groot, a descendant of the original owner. It is a beautiful but comfortless landscape. The lawyer's marriage is prominent but comfortless, too. When a struggling art history grad student, Ellie Shipley, agrees to forge the painting for a dubious art dealer, she finds herself entangled with its owner in ways no one could predict.


Sydney, 2000: Now a celebrated art historian and curator, Ellie Shipley is mounting an exhibition in her field of specialization: female painters of the Dutch Golden Age. When it becomes apparent that both the original At the Edge of a Wood and her forgery are en route to her museum, the life she has carefully constructed threatens to unravel entirely and irrevocably.

About the Author

Dominic Smith grew up in Sydney, Australia and now lives in Austin, Texas. He is the author of four novels, including The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, which was a New York Times Bestseller and a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice. In Australia, the novel won the Fiction Indie Book of the Year Award from the Independent Booksellers Association and was named the Literary Fiction Book of the Year as part of the Australian Book Industry Awards.

Dominic’s writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The Atlantic, Texas Monthly, the Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, and The Australian. Dominic serves on the fiction faculty in the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers and has taught at the University of Texas at Austin, Southern Methodist University, and Rice University.

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