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Review date
Publication
Toronto Star
Critic
Murray Whyte

Beautiful Deceptions


The Sophie La Rosière Project started with a remarkable discovery: A single painting, wrapped and bound tight in canvas and twine, tucked in the basement of Villa Vassilieff, a stately French manor on the outskirts of Paris that hosts an international residency program for artists.

By all appearances, it had been kept there for decades, holding a secret its maker seemed determined not to tell. But as Iris Haussler began to unravel its mystery, Sophie La Rosière, who died in 1948, revealed herself in layers: Of thickly painting images of decaying flowers, painted one on top of the other in a desperate attempt to bury the ache of forbidden love and a broken heart; and finally, a thick, obscuring coat of blackened wax, surrendering all she was, and all she had done, to obscurity.

Of course, not a word of it this is true, but for a single name plucked from the tale: Iris Haussler...

Iris Häussler wishes to acknowledge the support of the following funders