Cézanne (Ebook)

A life

Alex Danchev

A remarkable biography of the cultural icon, Paul Cézanne

Today we view Cézanne as a monumental figure, but during his lifetime (1839-1906), many did not understand him or his work. With brilliant insight, drawing on a vast range of primary sources, Alex Danchev tells the story of an artist who was never accepted into the official Salon: he was considered a revolutionary at best and a barbarian at worst, whose paintings were unfinished, distorted and strange. His work sold to no one outside his immediate circle until his late thirties, and he maintained that 'to paint from nature is not to copy an object; it is to represent its sensations' - a belief way ahead of his time, with stunning implications that became the obsession of many other artists and writers, from Matisse and Braque to Rilke and Gertrude Stein.

Beginning with the restless teenager from Aix who was best friends with Emile Zola at school, Danchev carries us through the trials of a painter tormented by self-doubt, who always remained an outsider, both of society and the bustle of the art world. Cézanne: A life delivers not only the fascinating days and years of the visionary who would 'astonish Paris with an apple', with interludes analysing his self-portraits, but also a complete assessment of Cézanne's ongoing influence through artistic imaginations in our own time. He is, as this life shows, a cultural icon comparable to Monet or Toulouse.

Publication date: 18/10/2012

£17.99

ISBN: 9781847653444

ISBN 10 / ASIN: B009M5SREK

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Arts, Language & Literature, Biography & Memoir

Cézanne (Paperback)

A life

Alex Danchev

A remarkable biography of the cultural icon, Paul Cézanne

Today we view Cézanne as a monumental figure, but during his lifetime (1839-1906), many did not understand him or his work. With brilliant insight, drawing on a vast range of primary sources, Alex Danchev tells the story of an artist who was never accepted into the official Salon: he was considered a revolutionary at best and a barbarian at worst, whose paintings were unfinished, distorted and strange. His work sold to no one outside his immediate circle until his late thirties, and he maintained that 'to paint from nature is not to copy an object; it is to represent its sensations' - a belief way ahead of his time, with stunning implications that became the obsession of many other artists and writers, from Matisse and Braque to Rilke and Gertrude Stein.

Beginning with the restless teenager from Aix who was best friends with Emile Zola at school, Danchev carries us through the trials of a painter tormented by self-doubt, who always remained an outsider, both of society and the bustle of the art world. Cézanne: A life delivers not only the fascinating days and years of the visionary who would 'astonish Paris with an apple', with interludes analysing his self-portraits, but also a complete assessment of Cézanne's ongoing influence through artistic imaginations in our own time. He is, as this life shows, a cultural icon comparable to Monet or Toulouse.

Publication date: 03/10/2013

£20.99

ISBN: 9781846681707

Imprint: Profile Books

Subject: Arts, Language & Literature, Biography & Memoir

Reviews for Cézanne

'Danchev's Cézanne has... virtues of imaginative sympathy, independence of mind, and wide scholarship. He writes as if Cézanne's life and character are as immediately present before him as is the art'

Julian Barnes TLS

'A brave new life of Cézanne ... much of this new material successfully illuminates Cézanne's inner life. An important book'

 Sunday Times

'Enlightening . . . Accomplished and subtle'

Michael Prodger Mail on Sunday

'This is a great book - possibly the best - on one of the most respected impressionists'

 Bookseller

'The most engrossing biography of an artist that I have read for years. With lightness of touch, depth of thought, a vast cultural hinterland and an assured understanding of painting, Danchev marvellously brings to life Cézanne the man, as well as the pioneering artist called "the father of us all" by Picasso.'

Jackie Wullschlager FT

'A magisterial biography'

Jonathan Lopez Wall Street Journal

'A new view of an old subject ... an impressive achievement'

Christian House Independent on Sunday

'This is the best account of [Cézanne's] astonishing career and Danchev responds to the challenge with great sensitivity and genuine brio. This is a book which will survive the test of time.'

John Golding CBE, Emeritus Professor of the Royal Academy 

'Alex Danchev compellingly guides us through Paul Cezanne's much mythologized life from his over-bearing father and early days in the South, as a school friend of Emile Zola, to his position as one of the revered creators of modern painting. The development of Cezanne's thinking and the construction of his paintings are explored alongside his complex relationship with other painters and the Parisian art establishment. Danchev has a great ability to weave his research and analysis into a compelling narrative: understanding what was required for Cezanne to make art modern.'

Sandy Nairne, National Portrait Gallery 

'A fantastically multidimensional Cézanne. . . . reads much like . . . one of Paul Cézanne's paintings . . . Mr. Danchev's portrait of Cezanne's life is heavy, thick with deceptively simple detail, and unendingly rich in offering context and detail for the reader to make sense of what contexts surrounded Cézanne, how Cezanne understood himself, and how the surrounding artistic milieu and climate informed Cezanne's paintings . . . Cezanne, A Life is a compelling and well-written biography of an enduring, enigmatic and complex figure in the changing world of turn-of-the-20th-century modernist art.'

Dr Lydia Pyne New York Journal of Books

'An enchanting literary exercise... exquisite in style... romantic, intense, affectionate and occasionally wry... a masterpiece.'

Brian Sewell Evening Standard

Alex Danchev

Alex Danchev

Alex Danchev was Professor of International Relations at the University of St Andrews. His books Cézanne: A Life (2012) won the Apollo Book of the Year Award in 2013, jointly with his translation of The Letters of Paul Cézanne (2013). He was also the author of a number of other internationally acclaimed biographies, and two influential collections of essays, On Art and War and Terror (2009) and On Good and Evil and the Grey Zone (2015); and editor of the best-selling 100 Artists' Manifestos (2011).