Cézanne: A Life - Alex Danchev

In his wide-ranging, erudite Cézanne: A Life (Pantheon, $40), the essayist and Braque biographer Alex Danchev tells the story of this modernist genius in two intertwining narratives. There’s the chronicle of the artist’s roots in Aix, his long friendships with Zola and Pissarro, halfhearted attempt at law school, and disdain for careerists. Then there’s the life of his work. In effect, Danchev breaks up the picture plane of a chronological account, overlaying the usual biographical trajectory with evidence of the reach and power of Cézanne’s paintings. To Danchev, Cézanne is “a life changer,” and a short list of those who experienced the “Cézanne epiphany” includes Matisse and Picasso, Beckett and Stein, Ginsberg and Heidegger. Yet what exactly is it about the art that’s so stunning? Danchev offers fascinating insight into Cézanne’s uncanny way of gauging weight, his application of highlights first rather than last, his radical approach to line and color. Ultimately, however, the undeniable power of his work is more than a matter of technique. Hemingway may have come closest when he summed it up as “a secret.”

Cezanne: A Life By Alex Danchev Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307377074
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
Published: Pantheon - October 23rd, 2012