This ambitious and expansive oversize volume makes a strong case for C‚zanne as a singular genius, a grand curmudgeon, an...

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CEZANNE PAINTINGS

This ambitious and expansive oversize volume makes a strong case for C‚zanne as a singular genius, a grand curmudgeon, an artist's artist. Adriani (C‚zanne Watercolors, not reviewed) is director of Kunsthalle T(infinity)bingen, site of the 1993 retrospective that this catalogue documents. His concise and thoughtful introduction charts C‚zanne's solitary life from 1839 to 1906. Outcast from the public salons and rarely exhibited, the painter depended on friendships with fellow artists such as Camille Pissarro and the writer Emile Zola, as well as the benefits of a regular stipend from his father. More earnest than his Impressionist forebears, C‚zanne is described as grappling with traditional subjects: landscape, portrait, still life, and figure. Often working outdoors from direct observation, he pursued painting's fundamentals with a scientific fervor. In particular, he investigated the role of color as a plastic and structural compositional element, often applying it to his canvases with a palette knife or thick brush. Of the 149 illustrations included here, some 97 are magnificently reproduced in color, each accompanied by an extensive art historical notation by Adriani, by its reference number in the existing catalogue raisonn‚, and by a description of the painting's provenance and exhibition history. Especially noteworthy are a number of self-portraits as well as extensive studies for the famous series depicting varieties of bathers. Illustrative material includes period photographs, which give a sense of C‚zanne's desolate state; in a 1906 sepia print, the formally dressed and pigment-besmirched artist struggles with palette and easel in a barren outdoor setting. Rounding out the volume is an essay by art historian Walter Feilchenfeldt on the early reception of C‚zanne's work in Germany. A decidedly Germanic undertaking -- hefty, authoritative, accessible, ordered in its presentation, giving credence to C‚zanne's canonical role in painting's history.

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 316

Publisher: Dumont/Abrams

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995