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Cezanne Paperback – 1 Apr 1985

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Friend and art dealer Ambroise Vollard describes Cezanne's career and attempts to capture the artist's complex personality.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x97dc07f8) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x96e80a44) out of 5 stars Vollard on Cézanne 26 Sept. 2012
By Kenneth Hughes - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ambroise Vollard's near-legendary status as the most important and influential dealer in contemporary art in Paris from the later years of the nineteenth century until his death in 1939 was excellently documented in the 2006-07 exhibition "Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde" originating at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (see my review of the exhibition catalogue). Apart from his own fictional/satirical writing and his autobiography, "Recollections of a Picture Dealer," he also wrote memoirs of Renoir, Degas and Cézanne, three of the artists with whom he was most closely associated. Although they all provide subjective and personal recollections of their subjects' temperaments and characters (and in Vollard's description, they certainly were all "characters"!), they are quite different in style. "Renoir: An Intimate Record" is a series of recorded conversations he had with the painter in the last years of Renoir's life, and "Degas: An Intimate Portrait" is more a collection of anecdotes revealing Degas's quirky and obsessive nature and his eccentric observations on people (especially women), art, and the decline of life in Paris. "Cézanne" is the closest of the three to a more usual art-historical study. It is also filled with wonderful anecdotes and insightful observations of its subject's "temperrammennte" (as Vollard transcribes Cézanne's deeply Provençal pronunciation), but it is organized as a chronological overview of the painter's life from "First Impressions (1839-1861)" in his native Aix to his years in Paris, his aspiration and consistently failed attempts to be accepted to the Salon, participation in the Impressionist exhibitions, etc., to his permanent return to and last years in Aix (1899-1906). There are chapters on Vollard's 1895 exhibition of Cézanne's work (which more or less established both of their careers), on his visit to Aix in search of paintings, on the circumstances of Cézanne's painting Vollard's portrait, and on the erosion and ultimate demise of Cézanne's friendship with Zola. Vollard concludes with a compendium of critical commentary (most of it highly negative, of course), chiefly from the Salons d'Automne of 1904, '05, and '06. The volume ends with a very appreciative review of Vollard's book written by Roger Fry for the "Burlington Magazine" in 1917. In it, Fry states that "when the time comes for a complete appreciation of Cézanne, M. Vollard's book will be the most important document existing" (133). Fry himself famously went on to write such an appreciation only ten years later in his seminal "Cézanne: A Study of His Development." Neither Fry's work, written 85 years ago, nor Vollard's, now 95 years old, can any longer claim to be the most important documents on Cézanne's life and work, but as a close-up view of Cézanne as a man and an artist by someone who knew him as well as anyone outside his tightly knit family circle, Vollard's memoir is an invaluable and unsurpassed record.
HASH(0x9702a48c) out of 5 stars Five Stars 13 Nov. 2015
By Lou Pearson Jr. - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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