The Letters of Paul Cézanne
- ISBN 9780500239087
- 24.00 x 16.50 cm
- 75 Illustrations, 55 in colour
- First published 2013
‘Danchev’s new translation and edition of Cézanne’s letters offers the most riveting portrait of the artist yet’ – The Guardian
‘Poignant and powerful … for all his travails, Cézanne could use words with the same powerful effect with which he laid on patches of colour’ – The Sunday Times
‘… the complete letters in this volume reveal a multifaceted personality far more engaging than the cranky existential hero of modern myth. They form the most moving correspondence by an artist that I have ever read’ – The Financial Times
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Cézanne is the exemplary artist-creator of the modern age. The letters offer fresh perspectives on his artistic vision, politics, friendships, psychology, philosophy, literary tastes and classical frame of reference and provide an intimate insight into the preoccupations and personality of a legend.
Read an extract from the book on Cézanne's relationship with Zola in The Telegraph
Misunderstood by his peers but lauded by later generations as the ‘father of modern art’, Cézanne has long been a subject of fascination for artists and art lovers, writers, poets and philosophers.
A singular thinker and an uncompromising seeker after artistic truth, he channelled a large part of his wide-ranging intellect and ferocious wit into his letters. Over 250 examples survive, to family, friends and major figures from the literary and art worlds. Punctuated by exasperated theorizing and philosophical reflection, outbursts of creative ecstasy and melancholic confession, the letters reveal both the heroic and the all-too-human qualities of the greatest artist of modern times.
This new translation, by the acclaimed biographer Alex Danchev, is based on a thorough re-examination of the original manuscripts. It clears up decades of questionable scholarship and includes over twenty previously unpublished letters. The correspondence is richly annotated and cross-referenced to the current catalogue raisonné and other monuments of recent scholarship. More than seventy illustrations – sketches, autograph letters and key works discussed by Cézanne – add to the vivid presence of the artist on every page.
Danchev’s great achievement is to allow readers in English to hear Cézanne’s voice in his own idiomatic, idiosyncratic style. And he sounds rather different from the Cézanne we thought we knew – richer, wittier, wiser, more philosophical, more irascible, above all more human.
Alex Danchev is the author of a number of acclaimed biographies, including Cézanne: A Life and Georges Braque: A Life. He writes regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and Times Higher Education. He has held Fellowships at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, St Antony’s College, Oxford, and Queen Mary, London. He is currently Professor of International Relations at the University of Nottingham.