Cover image for Cézanne : the self-portraits
Cézanne : the self-portraits
Platzman, Steven.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Berkeley: University of California Press, [2001]

Physical Description:
224 pages : illustrations (chiefly color), portraits ; 29 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ND553.C33 P558 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize

On Order



C#65533;zanne revolutionized the way we see and transcribe the essence of the material world. His position is pivotal: his style is part of the canon of early modernism and his iconic images, his still lifes, and landscapes are associated with a unique analytical approach that changed the face of modern art. But how did C#65533;zanne see and portray himself? His self-portraits are a surprisingly neglected area of study and there has been no extended and in-depth analysis of how C#65533;zanne's signature style was used to fashion his self-image. Steven Platzman's accessible and richly illustrated book fills this gap by examining the stylistic development of C#65533;zanne's self-portraits in an effort to understand how the artist saw himself and others, and how he positioned himself in the art world and French society. Platzman's detailed analysis of the paintings offers new explanations and assessments of significant aspects of C#65533;zanne's career and oeuvre. Abundant and exquisitely reproduced illustrations, including crucial details, make C#65533;zanne: The Self-Portraits an essential resource for anyone interested in this French master.

Platzman demonstrates that the expectation of a self- portrait from a master artist goes beyond color and structural analysis. He questions whether a C#65533;zanne self-portrait reveals something of the artist's emotions, or whether it obscures the feelings of the man whose celebrated and groundbreaking style altered the course of the history of art. The author also thoroughly and clearly fleshes out the historical and artistic contexts of mid-nineteenth century France and investigates C#65533;zanne's complex relationship with the avant-garde in the 1860s and early 1870s. He provides a new explanation for C#65533;zanne's flirtation with impressionism and his subsequent adoption of a more personal, idiosyncratic style. He also takes a new and radically different view of C#65533;zanne's so-called "narrative self-portraits," exploring for the first time his relationship with the icon of the femme fatale. Through these close visual analyses, readers will come to a greater understanding of the concerns, ambitions, and relationships that shaped C#65533;zanne's oeuvre.

Author Notes

Steven Platzman received his doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. He is an independent art historian/dealer.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Few artists painted as many self-portraits as Paul C?zanne. Art dealer Platzman uses these self-portraits to explore the artist's psychological profile, personal and artistic development, and relationships with other artists and with women. Thirty-six paintings and 24 drawings are reproduced in this volume, providing the most comprehensive publication of the artist's self-portraits to date. Platzman's style is expansive and speculative, bringing a wide array of historical, cultural, and psychological material into his discussions. The result is a somewhat idiosyncratic work that is most suitable for research and specialized art collections. Kathryn Wekselman, MLn., Cincinnati (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Although the literature on Paul Cezanne is substantial, Platzman's study is the first to focus on the artist's self-portraits. Platzman, a young art historian educated at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, follows the artist's development of this particular genre and his mark on the Parisian Salon art world from the 1860s onwards, investigating his gradual shift toward a more isolated position and his association with the Impressionist avant-garde, particularly Camille Pissarro, and, eventually, finding his own way that would transform him into being universally recognized as the founding father of modern art. Within his general investigation, Platzman presents an especially sensitive and illuminating parallel between Cezanne's profound assessment of his body and soul as reflected in physiognomy and the earlier probings of Rembrandt. Both artists inserted their own images into narrative paintings, although the femme fatale plays a more insistent role in the Frenchman's oeuvre, especially in his lurid and erotic scenes from the late 1860s and 1870s. The late self-portraits of both artists present quieter, more introspective images. Complemented by a plethora of fine color and black-and-white plates, a good index, bibliography, and notes, as well as a useful catalog of the self-portraits. A groundbreaking study, highly recommended. General readers; lower-division undergraduates through faculty. J. Weidman Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Table of Contents

1 The Young Radical: Cezanne and Paris in the 1860s
2 Reconstructing the Self: Cezanne and the Recall to Order
3 The Artist and the Femme Fatale: Cezanne's Narrative Self-Portraits
4 The Final Decades: Exploring the Self
Conclusion Cezanne's Self-Portraits: A Complete Catalogue
Notes and Sources
Acknowledgments an List of Illustrations