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Empress of Tempera (Paperback) (Alex Dolan)
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The feud began forty years ago. On one side: Gabriel Kasson was one of the wealthiest men in America. The other: an artist known as Qi was heralded as the next Andy Warhol. Kasson planned on commissioning a vast art museum in Manhattan, ostensibly to house the works of Qi. But after an acrimonious falling out, Qi stopped painting, and Kasson boxed up Qi’s inventory of work and expunged the artist from public memory. A Cold War has existed between these two families ever since, and very few people remember the artist at all. Until a piece by Qi appears in New York.Outside the Fern Gallery where the Qi hangs, a man stabs himself in the heart while staring the painting of a young Chinese empress. Paire Anjou, a young art student fresh to the city, stands so close, her dress is freckled with blood. The resurgence of Qi’s art stirs up widespread curiosity and attention. Much like Michelangelo’s David, the portrait evokes powerful reactions from people. Patrons pass out, write love letters, and try to vandalize it. Since the day she saw it, Paire can’t stop ruminating about the painting.The descendants of the Kasson and Qi families converge, and their conflict escalates into a blood feud. And Paire, who covets the Empress, is woven into their devastating war. Paire Anjou is herself a descendent of criminal parents with a predilection for theft. And she has decided that she needs to possess the Qi for herself.