CÉZANNE by Antony Mason


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An import of an entry in a British series on famous artists, this book is part biography, part art history, and part study guide for budding artists. Each spread, in fact, covers all bases, recounting a segment of CÉzanne's life, analyzing his painting during that period, studying one specific painting, and suggesting an exercise for a student to practice a particular painterly technique. As one would expect, the result is a cluttered layout and a muddled sense of who the artist was. CÉzanne is rather simplistically reduced to an antisocial genius who was lucky enough to be independently wealthy and an ally of the Impressionists, who was more interested in arranging shapes than in conveying emotion. Crowded as the layouts are, the reproductions of CÉzanne's paintings are sufficiently good to show some of his effects. But the book seems to cater to an audience of young people already devoted to fine art and knowledgeable about it, rather than to readers just beginning to fall under its spell. The flat-footed prose and confusing presentation do nothing to convey the magic of a great artist's work -- let's nope the paintings speak for themselves.

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1994
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Barron's