I just finished reading The Painter from Shanghai by Jennifer Cody Epstein.
A novel that roughly recounts the true life of painter, Pan Yuliang, an unlikely artist who was sold into prostitution at 14 when her parents died,Â purchased from the brothel by a customs official when she was 21 and made his only concubine, then discovered painting at a nearby art school in the town where she awaited his visits. She became the first Chinese artist (and female artist at that!) to paint nudes in the Western style which drew accolades and awards in Italy and France and ultimately, devastation to her husband's livelihood and their relationship in Shanghai.
The book jumped out at me from a used bookstore window and I'm so glad I acted on the instinct to buy it. It's a great read about surviving your circumstances, taking opportunity, following your passion... it's an unapologetic look at the unconventional and artistic life.
Thought you'd enjoy her paintings. They remind me of Cezanne with beautiful line work and color palettes...