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House on the Bridge: Ten Turbulent Years with Diego Rivera

1 rating: 4.0
A book by Sharon Upp

“House on the Bridge...Ten Turbulent Years with Diego Rivera” is the story of Diego Rivera’s first wife, Angeline Beloff, a painter and engraver from pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg, and her relationship with the well known muralist … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Sharon Upp
Publisher: Trafford Publishing (November 6, 2008)
1 review about House on the Bridge: Ten Turbulent Years...

"You will meet a man... but he is not right for you."

  • Mar 18, 2009
  • by

History takes on a human face through the animation of relevant characters. In this novel, Angeline Beloff and Diego Rivera live out their great love affair against the background of Belle Epoch Paris. Fleeing pre-revolutionary Russia in 1909, Beloff is drawn to the city of artists, pursuing her love of painting. With precise historical detail, Upp thrusts her protagonist into early twentieth century Paris, passion igniting along with political unrest as World War I threatens. Traveling with new friend Maria Blanchard, a Spanish painter, to Bruges, Angeline meets Diego Rivera, who has come to experience the creative renaissance before returning to his native Mexico. Although she resists his charm, Beloff eventually succumbs to Rivera, embarking upon a ten year love affair conducted in a circle of other artistic luminaries (Picasso, Modigliani) and competing in Parisian salons with their work.

Angeline's journey is wrought with troubles, incessant poverty leaving her vulnerable as France is consumed by war. But Beloff's battle is fought on more personal territory, a love of Rivera that is constantly threatened by interlopers. Even motherhood cannot protect Angeline from Diego's infidelity. Larger than life, this is a man incapable of small gestures or simple commitments. Like such women throughout history, Beloff is victim of a similar fate, the love of an impossible man, finally reclaiming herself with the encouragement of a circle of women. In her ten-year odyssey with Rivera, Paris is the beating heart of a grand romance where art and love are often indistinguishable, but the denouement leaves Beloff alone in the world save her friends.

The characters' interior lives and passions for art and color are revealed through fluid dialog; as the story progresses, Angeline's dilemma is clarified- the love of a chronically unfaithful man driven by genius. There is some ambiguity about Rivera and Beloff's union, but the author resolves the issue in favor of her protagonist: this is a marriage. Artist and engraver, Angeline is an integral part of the community, her relationship with Rivera a natural pairing of genius, ambition and artistic vision. Unfortunately, after a decade with her lover and the loss of a child, what seems a perfect match deteriorates, not so much through the attrition of wartime Paris as Rivera's deeply flawed character. The result is a rich portrayal of Paris at its creative zenith, art the muse of those compelled by imagination. Luan Gaines/2009.
House on the Bridge

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