Definitive life of the painter who probably influenced modern art more than any man of his time -- whose influence continues, in moderated form, today, and whose fame came too late to balance his warped, introverted, unbalanced temperament. The son of provincial bourgeois family, he went through life in terror of his autocratic father, who, none the less, was his ""meal ticket"" enabling him, albeit reluctantly, to give his life to painting. Here is the story of a fairly uneventful life, colored by interesting friendships, among which the virtually life-long friendship with Zola was conspicuous. The background shifts constantly from Provence to Paris and back, and the story is told against the panorama of French art at a time of revolutionary changes. His share in the movement -- his contribution -- his position in art criticism, all this comes out frequently through his own letters, and again through the presentation of his biographer. An important book for anyone interested in the history of art.