Books & Literature

French Culture

Online Conversation with Lilianne Milgrom

Friday 12th February 2021 — 6:30pm to 7:30pm

Get Tickets

The Alliance Française of Washington, DC will be hosting Lilianne Milgrom for a conversation about her recently published book L'Origine: The Secret Life of the World's Most Erotic Masterpiece, an exploration of one of the world's most scandalous works of art.

This event will be in English. You can order a copy of the book through Bonjour Books DC, or Amazon.

Watch the book trailer here.

About the book

In 1866, maverick French artist Gustave Courbet painted one of the most iconic images in the history of art: a sexually explicit portrait of a woman's exposed genitals. Audaciously titled L'Origine du monde (The Origin of the World), the scandalous painting was kept hidden for a century and a half. Today, it hangs in the world-renowned Orsay Museum in Paris, viewed by millions of visitors a year.

As the first artist authorized by the Orsay Museum to re-create Courbet's The Origin of the World, author Lilianne Milgrom was thrust into the painting's intimate orbit, spending six weeks replicating every fold, crevice, and pubic hair. The experience inspired her to share her story and the painting's riveting clandestine history with readers beyond the confines of the art world.

L'Origine is an entertaining and superbly researched work of historical fiction that traces the true story of the painting's unlikely tale of survival, replete with French revolutionaries, Turkish pashas, and nefarious Nazi captains. But L'Origine is more than a riveting romp through history-it also sheds light on society's complex relationship with the female body.

About the author

Paris-born Lilianne Milgrom holds dual US and Australian citizenship. She is an award-winning artist, blogger and published writer on the arts. She holds two graduate degrees from Melbourne University and an Associate Art degree from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. She currently lives in the greater Washington DC area with her husband. Her children are grown and exploring the world, each in their own way. Lilianne is the first to admit that she has developed an obsession for Gustave Courbet. Her intimate experience with L'Origine du monde inspired her to tell the story of the painting's remarkable clandestine journey and the eccentric cast of characters whose paths it crossed over the centuries. Her website is:


All attendees will receive a Zoom join link a couple of days before the event. Please make sure you add Eventbrite as Safe Sender to your email list. For any questions, please contact Natasha Zavadskaia at

Get Tickets