Alex Danchev gives us the first comprehensive assessment of the revolutionary work and restless life of Paul C'zanne to be published in decades. One of the most influential painters of his time and beyond, C'zanne was the exemplary artist-creator of the modern age who changed the way we see the world.'With brisk intellect, rich documentation, and eighty-eight color and fifty-two black-and-white illustrations, Danchev tells the story of an artist who was originally considered a madman, a barbarian, and a sociopath. Beginning with the unsettled teenager in Aix, Danchev takes us through the trials of a painter who believed that art must be an expression of temperament but was tormented by self-doubt, who was rejected by the Salon for forty years, who'sold nothing outside his immediate circle until his thirties, who had a family that he kept secret from his father until his forties, who had his first exhibition at the age of fifty-sixmdash;but who fiercely maintained his revolutionary beliefs. Danchev shows us how the beliefs C'zanne held and the life he led became the obsession and inspiration of artists, writers, poets, and philosophers from Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso to Samuel Beckett and Allen Ginsberg.
Danchev's (On War and Art and Terror) biography of painter Paul Cezanne is both exhaustive and occasionally exhausting. The author tries to rein in his elusive subject with details ranging from Cezanne's childhood friendship with writer Emile Zola to descriptions of the artist's late-career workdays. The result reveals how difficult it is to sum up an artist whose work has drawn the accolades of everyone from Sir Kenneth Clark to Allen Ginsburg. Cezanne was both "a sensitive brute" as an Aix en Provence schoolboy and an aging madman. The art of his most productive years, observed sculptor Alberto Giacometti, "revolutionized the representation of the exterior world," undoing and expanding the perspective that painting had celebrated since the Renaissance. Cezanne in some respects was a forerunner of a modern artistic celebrity, whose persona, while tied to his extraordinary productivity, also assumed a life of its own, both in literature and the public imagination. Danchev is deeply versed in Cezanne as legend, man, and artist, and this account encompasses all of these. 32p full-color insert. Illus. Agent: Inkwell Management. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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October 23, 2012
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