Cezanne: A Life Hardcover – Oct 23 2012
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Advance Praise for Cézanne
“Impressive . . . Danchev has researched every facet and nuance of Paul Cézanne’s life. [He] rightly subscribes to the theory that understanding the man is important to understanding his work.”
“A major work of scholarship. With great sensitivity and genuine brio, Danchev paints a compelling portrait of the artist, who managed to overcome the demons that haunted him to transform himself into what many consider the greatest painter of his age. This is the best account to date of Cézanne’s astonishing career—a book that will survive the test of time.”
—John Golding, author of Visions of the Modern
Praise for Georges Braque
“A vivid and cogent portrayal of a grave and moral man.”
—Julian Barnes, The Guardian, “Books of the Year”
“In this first biography of Braque, Danchev has produced an extraordinary book which, though very different in style from John Richardson’s Picasso or Hilary Spurling’s Matisse, matches theirs in interest. Its brisk account is written with compelling urgency.”
—Frances Spalding, The Independent
“The fun-filled partnership between Braque and Picasso is brought to glorious life in this new biography.”
—Peter Conrad, The Observer
“A pleasure to read: persuasive, rewarding, controversial, and, above all, witty.”
About the Author
ALEX DANCHEV was educated at University College, Oxford; Trinity Hall, Cambridge; and King’s College London. He is the author of several highly acclaimed biographies, including Georges Braque. His most recent books are a collection of essays, On Art and War and Terror, and 100 Artists’ Manifestos. He writes regularly for The Times Literary Supplement and Times Higher Education. He has held fellowships at the Wilson Center in Washington, D.C.; St. Antony’s College, Oxford; and King’s College London. He is a professor of international relations at the University of Nottingham. He lives in England.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
He painted his apples and portraits with the same intense scrutiny, strangely he painted his nudes from his head or old school drawings.
There are some wonderful descriptions of his methodology and the artist matierials he used. Danchev describes the colors and pigment Cezanne used- useful to any painter. I would have loved a bit more of that.
The only quibble I have with this book is a lay person trying to get inside a head of a painter- Danchev did a fair job, but I wish art writers or critics would like Adam Gopnik take drawing lessons from Jacob Collins just to see what a struggle it is to learn how to draw. Maybe then we would have better art critics and biographers who are more in tune with their subjects.
The picture reference could be better- they are small- but this should impel a visit to a museum so see them- well worth the trip.
All in all it is a wonderful book and a good read. It leads to a greater appreciation and understanding of the enormous impact Cezanne had on art.
Cezanne came from a wealthy and well respected family. His father was an affluent banker. Lad Cezanne had two sisters Marie and Rose. He had troubles with his family not admitting that he had fathered a child by a woman named Hortense. Cezanne and his son Paul were close throughout their lives.
Alex Danchev is the author of this beautiful biography of a great man. The book is well illustrated with 86 color plates and 52 black and white illustrations. Danchev quotes extensively from the writings of Zola, Cezanne and their friends and critics.
Cezanne was sent to Paris to study law but found painting more congenial to his genius. The artist lived modestly but did inherit a large income from his father following the elder Cezanne's death in the 1880s. Among Cezanne's masterpieces are "The Bathers"; "The Card Game"; several portraits of prominent Parisians and his own self-portraits painted during his life. Danchev analyzes these works with erudition and insight. Cezanne sold few paintings in his life not having his first exhibition until the late age of 56. Danchev also comments on the Cezanne inflence in the art of such diverse artists as Pablo Picasso, Sameul Beckett and Allen Ginsberg.
Cezanne was often disdained by the academic French Art Academy. The artist was accused of being a gauche barbarian, madman and bad painter. Depsite the disdain of the Academy we now recognize Paul Cezanne as one of France's and the world's greatest artist.
The book is written in a scholarly style. Many of the chapters are written in the style of essays. The book is not for beginners of art studies. This is the best popular biography of Paul Cezanne, his art and the world of nineteenth century France in which he lived and flourised. Bravo Danchev!
A half century ago, it was thought that the key to the artist was formal analysis: composition, color, and relation to the subjects depicted. Yet the early work in particular, full of dark romantic currents, suggests that this approach is insufficient. Nor can the artist be simply labeled the father of modern art, and leave it at that. He was this in some sense, but that does not seem the most important thing.
Elusive as he is, we must keep grippling with the sublime master of Aix - that splendid little town. This book helps us substantially in that task.
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