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You may hesitate, as we did, at the sight of yet another book about Cezanne, but this handsomely produced retrospective volume is without question the grandest of them all. The superb reproductions (258 in the best color and crispest focus this reviewer has ever seen and 350 in rich black-and-white) document the artist's entire revolutionary oeuvre, from his earliest pencil drawings to his watercolors, sketchbooks, and magnificent paintings. The commentary, based on meticulous research by Cachin--curator, scholar, and president of the National Museums of France--and her esteemed colleagues, is of the highest order, penetrating and illuminating in its interpretations of the man, his work, and his enormous influence on modern art.
Picasso, speaking about modern art and artists, referred to Cezanne as «the father of us all.» He was that rare artist whose vision -and ability to express it- was so keen and unique that it can actually impact the way we se the world around us. (How often I look into the trees and think «that looks like a Cezanne.») More than any other book of his work this volume succeeds in showing the sweep and depth of Cezanne's genius. The reproductions are superb and plentiful. The descriptive text accompanying each image, while interesting, needs to be taken with a grain of salt, as is often the case in catalogues of this nature. But the truth is I buy art books for the pictures! For text, try Rewald's book which is also excellent and contains some paintings not elsewhere printed, and deals extensively with the relationship between Cezanne and Zola. I also recommend Gotz Adriani's book on Cezanne. But if you can only have one, this is it.