THE INTIMIST is inspired by an event involving an "Art Hunter," a Hungarian art historian whose specialty is finding lost paintings by Hungarian artists. The story, widely reported here and abroad, describes him spotting a long-lost masterpiece in the background of a Hollywood children's movie he was watching with his daughter. His subsequent years-long mission to track down the piece eventually led to the set decorator who had purchased it from the film studio, unaware of what a treasure she had. He authenticated the work, and it eventually made its way back to Budapest where it was auctioned for a handsome price. THE INTIMIST begins with a similar serendipitous discovery.
Lina Nemeth's life has been vacuumed of any family history or roots by her parents, Hungarian immigrants now deceased, who were unyielding in their erasure of the past. When she learns that their pride-of-place painting of a country villa is a long-lost masterpiece by an iconic Hungarian painter she realizes that it holds a key to the past they've so determinedly suppressed. The discovery propels Lina out of her life as a set decorator, adrift in Hollywood's film industry, into a journey that will lead her from Hollywood to Budapest and into a history she could never have imagined, both prideful and anguished, and onto a new path of personal growth, identity, and purpose.
The story shifts between the 1990s and early 1950s. As that more recent storyline unfolds, the 1950s story thread weaves in and out, revealing the immersion of the mother and father in Cold War tragedy and intrigue, the details behind the painting's surreptitious relocation to America, and its connection to Lina's storied heritage.
THE INTIMIST is currently wending its way through the publishing world's submission process. Stay tuned!