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Member Book Club: Twilight of the Belle Epoque
Join fellow Alliance members in the Main Gallery to explore literature – both fiction and non-fiction – revolving around art, artists, art history, and art appreciation. Participate in thoughtful group discussions that will expand your appreciation and knowledge of the world of art. This is yet another great benefit of membership at the Alliance!
The February title is Twilight of the Belle Epoque: The Paris of Picasso, Stravinsky, Proust, Renault, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, and Their Friends through the Great War by Mary Sperling McAuliffe. Mary McAuliffe’s Dawn of the Belle Epoque took the reader from the multiple disasters of 1870–1871 through the extraordinary re-emergence of Paris as the cultural center of the Western world. Now, inTwilight of the Belle Epoque, McAuliffe portrays Paris in full flower at the turn of the twentieth century, where creative dynamos such as Picasso, Matisse, Stravinsky, Debussy, Ravel, Proust, Marie Curie, Gertrude Stein, Jean Cocteau, and Isadora Duncan set their respective circles on fire with a barrage of revolutionary visions and discoveries. Such dramatic breakthroughs were not limited to the arts or sciences, as innovators and entrepreneurs such as Louis Renault, André Citroën, Paul Poiret, François Coty, and so many others—including those magnificent men and women in their flying machines—emphatically demonstrated. But all was not well in this world, remembered in hindsight as a golden age, and wrenching struggles between Church and state as well as between haves and have-nots shadowed these years, underscored by the ever-more-ominous drumbeat of the approaching Great War—a cataclysm that would test the mettle of the City of Light, even as it brutally brought the Belle Epoque to its close. Through rich illustrations and evocative narrative, McAuliffe brings this remarkable era from 1900 through World War I to vibrant life.