Lion and Leopard by Nathaniel Popkin
When an immigrant artist drowns,
what is lost for American culture?
Nathaniel Popkin’s latest book and debut novel, Lion and Leopard, dares to portray an event previously unexplored in fiction: the mysterious death of John Lewis Krimmel, one of the first artists to capture scenes of urban street life in America.
Showing the rise and tragic fall of Krimmel through the eyes of multiple characters, Popkin imagines the chaotic time at the end of Krimmel’s life when he clashed with Charles Willson Peale & Sons, the gatekeepers of Philadelphia’s budding art scene.
Into this world come three young men from a small village, hungry for a taste of city life. Along the way, they encounter the enigmatic Krimmel, the maddening Edward Hicks, and the eminent Peales. Their interactions and conversations inspire them to begin a “book of American masters.” But which of these artists — all of them self-taught — will make the cut? Throughout clashes between fathers and sons, peers and rivals, lovers and mentors, Popkin illuminates a pivotal period when American art and culture were in their infancy.
Order the novel
Read an Excerpt