> Skip to content
  • Published: 1 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9781787303249
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $32.99

Portrait of an Unknown Lady




For readers of Olivia Laing, Mariana Enriquez, Deborah Levy and Valeria Luiselli, a playfully brilliant novel about women's influence, legacy, art and friendship

Set in Buenos Aires of the '60s and present day, this is a glittering novel full of intrigue and glamour. It celebrates three magnetic women and their influence in a bohemian underworld of art forgery, European emigrés, and once-grand hotels.

At the heart of the book is the enigmatic Renée, artist-savant and the best forger in town, who becomes the preoccupation, even obsession, of the book's young narrator, after the death of her own mentor, Enriqueta. Told as a kind of homage, through memories, interviews, and even an auction catalogue, Portrait of an Unknown Lady is a mordant, playful novel about influence, authenticity, value, and what we really know of one another.

  • Published: 1 March 2022
  • ISBN: 9781787303249
  • Imprint: Harvill Secker
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 224
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Maria Gainza

María Gainza was born in Buenos Aires, where she still lives. She has worked as a correspondent for The New York Times in Buenos Aires, as well as for ArtNews. For more than ten years she was a regular contributor to the magazine
Artforum andRadar, the cultural supplement ofPágina/12. She has given courses for artists and art critic workshops and was a co-editor of the collection Los Sentidos (The Senses) on Argentinean art.

Also by Maria Gainza

See all

Praise for Portrait of an Unknown Lady

'There are many pleasures to be had in reading Portrait of an Unknown Lady: its sublime, transcendent sentences, its arch and shadowy figures. Most of all, the zone to which you are transported, which is a Buenos Aires of canvases, trap doors, and dreams'

Amina Cain, author of INDELICACY

'Vividly detailed and saturated with intricate feeling, Gainza's novel is an engrossing exploration of authenticity, obsession, and the enveloping allure of art'

Alexandra Kleeman, author of SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

Related titles