A singular thinker and an uncompromising seeker after artistic truth, Cézanne channelled a large part of his wide-ranging intellect and ferocious wit into his letters. This translation by Alex Danchev is based on a thorough re-examination of Cézanne’s correspondence with family, friends and major figures from the literary and art worlds.
Danchev’s great achievement is to allow readers in English to hear Cézanne’s voice for the first time 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 fully human. The letters offer fresh perspectives on his artistic vision, politics, friendships, psychology, philosophy, literary tastes and classical frame of reference. They provide an intimate insight into the preoccupations and personality of a legend.
'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 most riveting portrait of the artist yet'
'An outstanding – and gloriously readable – feat of scholarship'