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Cézanne: A life by [Danchev, Alex]
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Cézanne: A life Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Length: 513 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

'This is the best account of [Cezanne'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

'Paul Cézanne's personal life comes dramatically into focus in an insightful biography that concentrates on his intense relationship with Emile Zola' -- Sunday Times -- New York Journal of Books

'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' -- New York Journal of Books

'Original, engaging and highly persuasive ... his prose is witty, mobile and sensitive'-- Guardian

'Danchev introduces a fresh tone into the debates about this artist . . . a stimulating tapestry of ideas . . . More ambitious, more brilliant and more discursive, it has a lively, consistently interrogative authorial voice; it draws upon a rich hinterland of cultural knowledge; it makes interventions into the massive historiography on Cézanne, challenging some scholars, affirming others. It repeatedly dazzles . . . the reach of this book is unlikely ever be surpassed in the search for Cézanne. This book, which makes a major contribution to our understanding of this haunting figure, is enhanced by three fat wads of colour reproductions and made more seductive by the photographs of artists that infiltrate the text.' -- Independent

'Richly documented . . . its rewards are many . . . Danchev's biography has a lightness as it avoids academic jargon and journeys into Cézanne s work with admirers who devoted serious thought to it.' -- San Francisco Chronicle

'Enlightening ... Accomplished and subtle ... 4*' -- Mail on Sunday


'It would be virtually impossible for anyone now to get back behind the wrong eyes, and the great strength of Alex Danchev's book is that it doesn t try. This is a biography for an age that takes Cézanne's supreme clarity, balance and pictorial logic for granted. Far from putting him back in the context he came from, it explores his relations with a world he shaped. Its cultural references range from Socrates to Wallace Stevens, Kafka to Beckett, Chaplin to Woody Allen ... moving ... 4*' -- Daily Telegraph



'A perceptive judge of pictures as well as a skilled narrator, Mr. Danchev excels at dissecting Cézanne's idiosyncratic, analytical approach to the depiction of nature, which eventually paved the way for the innovations of Cubism and modernist abstraction. Abundant colour plates and exhaustive documentation round out this magisterial biography. ' -- Wall Street Journal


'Mr Danchev's exhaustive research, not least of Zola's novels, provides a much fuller explanation of the man, which helps elucidate the art ... many will be enthralled, inspired and perhaps even comforted by this book' Country Life

'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

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

'Engaging and well-researched' LRB --LRB

'Magisterial ... Thanks to this wholly engrossing - and liberating - new life of the artist, we are made to feel closer to him than ever before.' --Burlington Magazine

Book Description

A remarkable new biography of a cultural icon

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 25511 KB
  • Print Length: 513 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (18 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847653448
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847653444
  • ASIN: B009M5SREK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #361,336 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At times I seemed to lose my way in this book. That might have been due to my lack of attention, but some sections read like little discrete essays and these sometimes seemed to derail the narrative of Cezanne's life. The section on pages 328 to 330, for example, is like a small essay on Cezanne's relationship with trees. However, this is a small criticism. As W.H. Auden observed, a shilling life will give you the facts and Alex Danchev's marvellous biography will give you far more than that. His motivation for writing the book appears to have been a burning desire to understand Cezanne's genius, and I doubt that there is a better reason for doing so. Towards the end of the book, and following a fascinating account of a meeting between two young artists and Cezanne in 1906, at the end of his life - a meeting that resulted in a remarkable series of photographs of Cezanne painting the Mont Saint-Victoire and which are reproduced in the book - he gets to the heart of the matter:

'At the core of the Cezannian revolution is a decisive shift in the emphasis of observation, from a description of the thing apprehended to the process of apprehension itself. Cezanne insisted that he painted things as they are, for what they are, as he saw them. The issue is what he saw - how he saw.'

Drawing extensively on the reactions of Cezanne's contemporaries and those who have ever since tried to understand his significance, Alex Danchev has, to my mind, written a profound and moving biography, and one that is worthy of its subject.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Not as easy a read as I thought it was going to be. Cezanne's life was not filled with fascinating incident. He lived almost exclusively an inner life, unlike some of those who followed him such as Picasso or Matisse. A biographer is obliged to flesh out the story with the lives of those who meant most to his subject. So what we have is a lot of Emil Zola, Cezanne's great childhood friend, in existential musings. This is not uninteresting but Danchev does draw it out a little too much. Where the author scores heavily is in his writing about Cezanne's progress as a painter and in discussing the paintings themselves. despite the longueurs, this is a worthwhile read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This life of Cezanne is well researched and makes alternative arguments about Cezanne which are enlightening. He comes across as a highly sensitive human being even though an very unusual one.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Reading this book, if you have the courage to get through the 373 pages of text (out of a total of 490) you will learn quite a lot about Emile Zola, Baudelaire, Mirbeau, Flaubert, Rilke, Kafka, Stendhal, even Virgil, to name but a few,but not very much about Cezanne - what it does tell you about him is buried in a mass of almost unreadable text. There's not much comment about the technical aspect of Cezanne's work, but then that's hardly surprising in a book written by a professor of international relations. The author uses this 'Life' to tell us, among other irrelevancies, all about the Drefus Affair, taking the opportunity to tell us that Renoir and Degas were anti-Semitic, though Pissarro, who was a friend of both, makes no mention of it in his published letters to his son Lucien. A far better introduction to Cezanne than this pretentious volume can be obtained from Catherine Dean's book 'Cezanne' and the one by Roberta Bernabei, both of which I would recommend. The one star awarded is for the illustrations, which are generally very good.
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Format: Hardcover
I gave up on this ramshackle biography fifty pages from the end. I believe I did well to get so far.
There's too much talk around the artist and too little about him. Also an excess of scholarly name dropping
and unnecessary, lengthy quotations.
For someone coming to the artist for the first time this is not the book. My personal favourite is John Rewald,s, the first I read,
and possible the best at creating a convincing portrait of the great man.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While it is interesting to know of Cezannes early school life, perhaps there could have been more discussion abou this early pictures and what he thought or was aiming for in his early work. What was the principle influence on his first pictures?

T Matoff
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book to look at his paintings but not a lot in this book. I've only read a chapter but find it very interesting. Written very eloquently and an indepth view of his life. Good for someone studying.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We'll - I didn't think we needed another biography of Cezanne - but Danchev's books shows us we do! It's wonderful - very illuminating, clear-headed and richly informative. Well worth reading!
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