Zoia's GoldPhilip Sington
8 June 2006
Published by Atlantic Books
A mysterious, gripping novel spun from the secret life of Zoia Korvin-Krukovsky, last-known survivor of the Romanov court and the woman who found fame as teh audacious ‘painter on gold’.
Stockholm, December 1999. Madam Zoia, artist and Russian-born aristocrat, is dead. She leaves behind a house full of paintings, a collection of private papers, and a legend. Zoia’s life and work coalesced into a symbol of Tsarist Russia – its faith and its mystery. Her dramatic escape from the Revolutionary torturers of the Lubyanka; an artistic journey that took in the teachings of Vassil Kandinsky and the excesses of Bohemian Paris; and an unearthly ability to command the devotion of beautiful men: these are the ingredients of a mythology that is about to be translated into cold, hard cash.
When Marcus Elliot is hired to write a glossy catalogue for a retrospective exhibition, his task proves far from simple. Zoia’s private papers hint at an existence of betrayal, sexual predation and despair. Elliot, whose world has already been touched by Zoia in ways darker and stranger than any collector’s, plunges into the shadows of her life determined to understand everything. But gold conceals just as must as it illuminates, and Elliot slowly begins to realise that the true significance of her paintings has been deliberately, jealously concealed – by none other than Zoia herself.
Drawing faithfully on Madam Zoia’s actual correspondence and on accounts of her early life, Zoia’s Gold tells the story of both a remarkable woman and of an extraordinary journey into her bewitching world.