News & Events
Novel Tourists Book Club presents: "Barnes Museum and The Blue Period"
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 3, 2019, 1:00 PM-4:00 PM
DETAILS FROM THE BOOK CLUB: "Let's pair up a visit to The Barnes Museum with a great historical fiction book, The Blue Period, by Luke Jerod Kummer. Kummer's novel details Picasso's life in his early years — specifically, what's become known as his Blue Period. During this time of his life, Picasso often focused on subjects living on the margins of society. The paintings all had a bluish cast."
THE LOCATION: Barnes Museum, 2025 Benjamin Franklin Pkwy, Philadelphia, PA
"The Barnes Foundation is a nonprofit cultural and educational institution that shares its unparalleled art collection with the public, organizes special exhibitions, and presents programming that fosters new ways of thinking about human creativity. We'll meet there to explore the amazing collection of art in the Barnes, including some of Picasso's work from the Blue Period."
Luke Jerod Kummer & Nellie Hermann in Conversation at Powerhouse Arena
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 28, 2019, 7:00-9:00PM
Please RSVP here
Full Stop magazine publishes conversation between novelists Kummer and Hermann
SEPTEMBER 25, 2019 | By Full Stop
"Another challenge I set for myself is I knew people identify Picasso with Cubism, which changed his life and western art. And so I was trying to figure out how – even though his Cubism phase doesn't happen until several years after my book concludes – to give a nod to it within writing about this earlier period. I came up with an idea rooted in thinking that Cubism starts in the 20th Century's first decade, which is about a hundred years after the third-person omniscient voice with internal thoughts entered literature with Jane Austen – Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Emma – which was later taken up by Flaubert and Tolstoy, whose book Anna Karenina makes an appearance in The Blue Period.
That kind of writing didn't exist in western literature beforehand. Then, Cubism comes along with the same intent of not just portraying a single perspective but multiple perspectives in the visual arts.
I found this interesting and wondered if I could write in a vein that would have been popular at the time – something like what young Picasso's contemporaries were reading – while inviting a comparison of how the dawn of multiple perspectives in literature perhaps led painters to think about how to represent that as well. I also considered the Renaissance artists Picasso had studied, whose achievement was the invention of linear perspective. This too has a parallel in literature: shortly after Michelangelo's time, Cervantes wrote Don Quixote, the West's first novel. The point is, there's always been interplay between the visual arts and literature, and I wanted to bring that into my book. I tried in a couple ways."
— Read more of the in-depth discussion at Full Stop magazine's website.
Press Club member writes first novel about Picasso's Blue Period
AUGUST 22, 2019 | By Naomi Weiss
Luke Jerod Kummer's curiosity for what makes a good story led to his discovering a vital part of Pablo Picasso's life that dramatically influenced the artist's work but was barely explored elsewhere, the author of "The Blue Period" told a National Press Club Book Rap on Tuesday, Aug. 20, in Cosgrove Lounge.
Picasso blamed himself for the death of sister and his friend Carles Casagemas, Kummer said. This resulted in "a radical flow of empathy" which influenced the artist's vision of humanity and the suffering of people who lived in his hometown of Malaga, Spain, and in Montmartre, France, where he went to paint.
Kummer, a Club member, took the discovery of Picasso's influence and imagined Picasso's life during his Blue Period, 1900-1904, to write his debut novel, "The Blue Period."
Picasso's works during his Blue Period exquisitely captured his subjects' emotions, body language and suffering through the artist's use of blue, black, dark greens and brown palates. Although the paintings are today among the most popular works by the artist, he had trouble selling them at the time. A slide show of these paintings was projected during the Book Rap.
Kummer said he was influenced by reading Patty Smith's "Just Kids" about her relationship with photographer Robert Maplethorpe.
Kummer is a reporter, editor and travel writer whose nonfiction work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, New York Magazine, New Republic and Village Voice. He was introduced by Joe Luchok, who moderated the event.
— Read the full article on The National Press Club's website.
Press Club to Host Book Rap About Fictional Portrait of Picasso
JULY 30, 2019 | By Naomi Weiss
National Press Club member Luke Jerod Kummer plans to discuss his debut novel, "The Blue Period," at a Book Rap in the Cosgrove Lounge on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 6:30 p.m.
The event is free for Club members and their guests but registration is required. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kummer plans to sell books at the event. Please also reserve a copy when registering for the event.
In "The Blue Period," Kummer envisions the rarely-known bohemian life of young Pablo Picasso as a time of love, lust, death and despair.
"From rowdy Barcelona barrooms to the incandescent streets of turn-of-the-century Paris, Pablo Picasso experiences the sumptuous highs and seedy lows of bohemian life alongside his rebellious poet friend with a shadowy past, Carles Casagemas," according to a press release by Kummer's publisher.
"Lusciously written and deeply imaginative, Kummer's debut is an edgy, elegant reimagining of a period in Picasso's life that forever changed the art world," said Karin Tanabe, author of "The Gilded Years."
Kummer has worked as a reporter, editor and travel writer. His nonfiction pieces have appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, New York magazine, New Republic, the Washingtonian and the Village Voice.
— Read the full article on The National Press Club's website.
The Blue Period chosen as an "Amazon First Read" for June 2019
JUNE 1, 2019—The Blue Period was selected to be a part of Amazon First Reads, a program offering early access to editors' top picks for soon-to-be-released titles, both Kindle versions and special advance hardcovers.
From the Editor:
"Behind every great piece of art is a story. Behind the early work of Pablo Picasso, there was a drama so tragic and intense, it's surprising that a novel like this has never been written.
In Luke Jerod Kummer's The Blue Period, we see the real-life story of how Picasso ventured to Paris as a young man and found himself entangled in a love triangle that nearly ruined him before inspiring his great period of artistic achievement.
I love how this novel gave me the experience of being in Paris at the turn of the twentieth century—before the city was the center of artistic expression, and long before Picasso's groundbreaking work in cubism began. In the novel, we come to understand and see the young artist, barely an adult, arrive in Paris from Barcelona and discover his potential. I was fascinated to learn that from that span of time emerged what art historians now call the Blue Period, thought by many to be a reference only to his palette but that also encompasses the early, dark mood that beset Picasso—until true love saved him at last, and led to the Rose Period that first brought him fame.
Luke Jerod Kummer managed to take what was once a few paragraphs in Picasso's biography and turn it into a wonderfully told coming-of-age novel. After reading this book, I'll never look at another Picasso painting the same way." — Carmen Johnson, Editor
The Blue Period reviewed by Booklist
MAY 24, 2019—"The early life of the world-renowned artist, Pablo Picasso, gets an historical fiction rendering from travel writer and journalist Kummer in his first novel. In rich, color-infused passages, young Picasso excels beyond the traditional art schools in Barcelona, falls in with a raucous group of creatives, including poet and artist Carles Casagemas, with whom he has a maudlin yet steadfast friendship, and, fatefully, has a painting accepted for the 1900 World Exposition in Paris. It is there that Pablo and his cohort Carles discover a bohemian life that exceeds their hitherto limited aspirations. It is also where the two meet and fall for a Parisian brunette named Germaine who models for them. What starts as friendship and scenes reminiscent of the classic Truffaut film Jules et Jim (1962), turns sour as Carles obsessively longs for Germaine while Pablo passionately acts on his desire for her. Kummer's descriptions of Paris at the turn of the century and the emotional turmoil within fame-destined Pablo create a quixotic tone that fans of lush biographical fiction will find especially alluring." — Booklist