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The Blue Period

Set in turn-of-the-century Barcelona and Bohemian Paris, this gritty historical novel reimagines the tangled relationship between a young Pablo Picasso, the poet Carles Casagemas, and Germaine Gargallo — a bold, free-spirited painter's model whom the two traveling companions from Spain encountered after arriving in Montmartre on their way to the Exposition Universelle. Based on real-life events during the now-famous artist's early days, the book explores the dramatic turns that led to Picasso's storied Blue Period, a brief, intense window in his long career when in the wake of tragedy he was able to bring to life some of the most tender, empathetic, and moving works of the era. 


(Little A, July 2019)

Praise for The Blue Period


"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 


"The Blue Period is about Pablo Picasso's artwork using endless cerulean and cobalt blue brush strokes to reflect the sadness and despair experienced during his early life. Written in a thoughtful and engaging style, it gives insight to Picasso's struggles to make a name for himself." — PRiME Women


"The Blue Period takes the reader from the alleys and soot-covered buildings of Barcelona to the four-story beige-brick #49 on Rue Gabrielle and the studio that housed Picasso, Casagemas, Gargallo and other women, adding architectural and atmospheric detail along the way." — Historical Novel Society

"Luke Jerod Kummer's tenderly crafted portrait of Picasso as a young artist, just starting out in a foreign country and grieving a great loss, cuts through the stereotypical bravado so often associated with the artist to add richly shaded layers of emotion, insight, and smartly noticed detail." — Rachel Corbett, author of You Must Change Your Life: The Story of Rainer Maria Rilke and Auguste Rodin

"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. It takes readers from the heat of Spain to the underbelly of Paris, as we follow the artist through friendship, dizzying infatuation, sex, and tragedy as he tries to claw his way to success. A book that feels as passionate and bold as Picasso himself." — Karin Tanabe, author of The Gilded Years

"Luke Jerod Kummer's The Blue Period is a vivid, well-researched re-creation of the world from which a great artist emerged and a richly imagined meditation on the relationships and tragedies that shaped both his life and his art." — John Biguenet, author of Oyster and The Torturer's Apprentice


"It follows Pablo Picasso's early adult years and the tragic romance that nearly destroyed him—and also gave him his first great artistic inspiration. Definitely a good addition to any reading list for a lovely fall afternoon." — Jennifer Dasal, host of the ArtCurious Podcast

"Mesmerized by this book from page one…. I was right there with Picasso in Spain and then in Paris…. The journey is rocky and sad, but so worth taking." — Ann Howard Creel, author of The Whiskey Sea and The River Widow


"I've always had an affinity for Picasso's blue period, but had no idea it reflected years in which he was 'blue' psychologically.... Kummer does a great job of setting the stage, whether developing Montmartre in the early 1900s or describing the turmoil in Spain. He also reveals bits of Picasso's personality that lead to his becoming the father of Cubism and an icon in his later life." — Midwest Book Review


"Like the subject of this eloquent and incisive novel, Kummer proves himself a true artist with a top-rate imagination and a special gift for dialogue and description. An historian with artistic sensibilities, he paints a complete and colorful picture of Picasso during this period, ensuring a deeper understanding of him for future generations. This important debut novel shows that Kummer may have immortality in him as well." — Eddie Chuculate, author of Cheyenne Madonna


"Fiction, especially well-researched historical fiction like Kummer's novel, gives us such insight into the thoughts, experiences, and outcomes of those who came before us. I found reading The Blue Period altered my appreciation of Picasso's early work. It really helped me, a person who has a hard time putting myself in an artist's shoes, to 'feel' the art and understand it as a rendering of what life was like then." — The Novel Tourist