“These are not interpretations or explanations of paintings—not even extrapolations or ekphrases. Instead, Color Plates is about the way a painting can provoke memory, can rustle its way into our head and incite synapses to connect in ways that are far from being obvious in the painting itself. Golaski superimposes the image in the painting with the event trapped in the head, laying the second on top of the first like ‘two texts on tissue paper’ or two lovers in a bed.”
The little stories (plates) in Color Plates are so removed from their first inspiration—the painting for which they are named—that a reader has all she needs in the text. That said, I appreciate that she might want more. Since the paintings are not reproduced in the book, the simplest way to get a sense of them is to search the Web. Some readers have done—have sat at a computer with book in hand and read and looked and read and looked.
Why it took so long for this idea to occur to me, I don't know, but the following is the contents of Color Plates, with links. I only include links to the websites of the museums that own the work. I assume a museum site promoting their permanent collection will be more accurate about details than other sources. In some cases, I couldn't find such a link (and in some cases, the work is in a private collection. For instance, Toulouse Lautrec's "The Laundress"). If you find a link I haven't, let me know and I'll add it.
1. Édouard Manet
“Boy with Cherries”
“Boating at Argenteuil”
“White Lilacs and Roses”
* Manet's “The Beach at Berck” is a favorite of Zetta's.
2. Edgar Degas
“The Dancing Class” (1876) *
“The Dancing Class” (1880)
“The Cotton Market, New Orleans”
“The Café Singer”
* Degas painted many dance classes. Another, very similar to the painting in the Met, is at the Musée d'Orsay. I can't say with certainly which it was I originally studied for my story.
** This, a sketch by Degas, may not the work I wrote from.
3. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec
“Portrait of the Artist’s Mother Reading”
“A Corner in the Moulin de la Galette”
“La Visite: Rue des Moulins”
“Woman Fixing Her Stocking” *
“The Grand Loge”
“In a Private Room at ‘Le Rat Mort’”
* Also “Woman Pulling Up Her Stocking,” apparently at the Musee Toulouse-Lautrec, though I can't find the image on their site.
4. Mary Cassatt
“Head of a Young Girl”
“Reading Le Figaro”
“Young Woman in Black”
“Five O’Clock Tea”
* Or, “In the Loge”
Color Plates is on sale at the Rose Metal Press website for $12