Jennifer Clement interviewed her friend Suzanne Mallouk about her relationship with the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Mallouk’s recollections were the basis of Clement’s book Widow Basquiat.
“I remember he had a book on Renoir that he loved. Once I asked him why and he said, ‘Because they are so violent.’ I argued with him and said that he was wrong, that the paintings showed placid French country life. He said I was stupid. He opened the book and showed me the painting of Mademoiselle Romaine Lacaux.
‘Those red flowers,’ he said, ‘are blood in her hands.’ Then he showed me The Sisleys and said, ‘You can just tell he hates her.’ Finally he opened a page at Une Odalisque— the one of the harem women– and Jean said, ‘Look, she is about to fart.’ ”
Widow Basquiat, Jennifer Clement, Canongate Books, 2000.
Odalisque, Pierre Auguste Renoir