Cover image for Conversations with Cézanne
Conversations with Cézanne
Cézanne, Paul, 1839-1906.
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Conversations avec Cézanne. English
Publication Information:
Berkeley : University of California Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
xxxiv, 278 pages : illustrations ; 21.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND553.C33 A35 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Michael Doran has gathered texts by contemporaries of Paul C#65533;zanne (1839-1906)--including artists, critics, and writers--that illuminate the influential painter's philosophy of art especially in his late years. The book includes historically important essays by a dozen different authors, including Emile Bernard, Joaquim Gasquet, Maurice Denis, and Ambroise Vollard, along with selections from C#65533;zanne's own letters.

In addition to the material included in the original French edition of the book, which has also been published in German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese, this edition contains an introduction written especially for it by noted C#65533;zanne scholar Richard Shiff. The book closes with Lawrence Gowing's magisterial essay, "The Logic of Organized Sensations," first published in 1977 and long out of print.

C#65533;zanne's work, and the thinking that lay behind it, have been of inestimable importance to the artists who followed him. This gathering of writings will be of enormous interest to artists, writers, art historians--indeed to all students of modern art.

Author Notes

Paul Cezanne, who was one of the most influential and powerful painters of the postimpressionist phase, led the way to twentieth-century cubism and abstract art. He was born in Aix-en-Provence, the son of a prosperous banker. It was his close friend, the novelist Emile Zola, who steered him to art and persuaded him to study in Paris. He was at first closely allied with his fellow painter, Pissarro and other impressionists, but gradually drew apart from them in his painstaking and dedicated search for a new style.

In 1886 Cezanne retired to Provence, where, because he was financially independent, he could totally concentrate on his art. The careful balance of tones, building form with color into almost geometrical (indeed, almost cubist) compositions, distinguishes his work. A firm grounding in the great French classical tradition turned him away from the romantic and impressionist toward the abstract art of the future. Cezanne, particularly in his later years, was a solitary man, not an intellectual, and he wrote very little. His watercolors are often as masterful as his oil paintings.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Once admired as a forerunner of modernists like Picasso and Braque, Cezanne is now appreciated on his own, and some art history mavens are even accepting that his achievement was unmatched by later generations. This is the long-awaited English version of a book that appeared in French in 1978 and has ever since been a cornerstone of Cezanne studies. Doran, formerly librarian at London's distinguished Courtauld Institute, is also a painter, which may have helped him choose the most vivid contemporary reminiscences of the mysterious French artist. Generally thought to have been closemouthed, Cezanne on the contrary turns out to be almost garrulous in these excerpts from contemporary memoirs and other documents. Statements range from homey details, such as that his favorite food was "potatoes with oil" and his favorite musician Weber, to sober proclamations about art: "Render nature with the cylinder, the sphere, and the cone, arranged in perspective so that each side of an object or of a plane is directed toward a central point." While Cezanne rejects what he calls "literary" painting (painting that migrates too far from visual reality), he was much inspired by reading: "I saw a tone of Flaubert, an atmosphere, something indefinable, a bluish and russet color which emanated, it seemed to me, from Madame Bovary." This and many other fascinating observations come from the memoirs of author Joachim Gasquet, criticized by some art historians for possibly reporting Cezanne's words inexactly. Never mind: they ring true, giving the real gist of a personality. So lively and fresh are these impressions that, by contrast, an analytical afterword in typical art historical prose by Lawrence Gowing is a real anticlimax. Better is a cogent biographical preface by scholar Richard Schiff. This book is indispensable reading for anyone passionate about painting. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

IntroductionRichard Shiff
DocumentsGustave Geffroy
Excerpt from Claude Monet, His Life, His Times, His Works Ambroise Vollard
Excerpt fromPaul Ceacute and zanne Leacute and o Larguier
Excerpt from Sunday withPaul Ceacute and zanne Jules Boreacute and ly
'Ceacute;zanne at Aix' (L'Art Vivant)Emile Bernard
Letter to His Mother (5 February 1904)Paul Ceacute and zanne
Letters to Emile Bernard (April to June, 1904)Emile Bernard
'Paul Ceacute;zanne' (L'Occident)Paul Ceacute and zanne
Letters toEmile Bernard
(July 1904 to September 1906)Emile Bernard
'Memories of Paul Ceacute;zanne' (Mercure de France)Francis Jourdain
Excerpt fromCeacute;zanne R. P. Riviegrave;re and J. F. Schnerb
'The Studio of Ceacute;zanne' (La Grande Revue)Maurice Denis
Excerpt from the JournalKarl Ernst Osthaus
'A Visit to Paul Ceacute;zanne' (Das Feuer)Paul Ceacute and zanne
My Confessions InterpretationsJoachim Gasquet
'What He Said to Me' (excerpt from Ceacute;zanne)Emile Bernard
'A Conversation with Ceacute;zanne' (Mercure de France)Maurice Denis
'Ceacute;zanne' (excerpt from Theories)Lawrence Gowing
'The Logic of Organized Sensations'