First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros is a meme hosted by bibliophilebythesea, sharing the first paragraph of our current or soon to be reads.
The Imperial Wife by Irina Reyn
Two women’s lives collide when a priceless Russian artifact comes to light.
Tanya Kagan, a rising specialist in Russian art at a top New York auction house, is trying to entice Russia’s wealthy oligarchs to bid on the biggest sale of her career, The Order of Saint Catherine, while making sense of the sudden and unexplained departure of her husband.
As questions arise over the provenance of the Order and auction fever kicks in, Reyn takes us into the dazzling world of Catherine the Great, the infamous 18th-century empress, who may have owned the priceless artifact, and who, it turns out, faced many of the same issues Tanya wrestles with in her own life.
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The Burliuk is a fake. To make sure, I flash the ultraviolet light closer to the surface. No doubt about it–the form’s flat, the red way off. The image has no depth, and the tentative choppy signature floats. These are not at all the artist’s confident, swirling lines. The painting’s canvas is made of Masonite, a material Burliuk would never have used in 1911. And most damning of all is the bucolic subject matter in keeping with his later, American period. Oh well. Disappointing, but at least I made the catch before slotting the piece into the catalogue.