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The Boston Globe

Arts

Book Review

‘Cézanne: A Life’ by Alex Danchev

This learned and engaging biography by Alex Danchev, a University of Nottingham professor who also wrote a well-regarded life of Georges Braque, shows how Cézanne, with those amazing retinas, changed not just the way people see but the way we think about perception and the possibilities of art. His riveting portraits and still lifes made even Manet look a bit conventional in comparison. With his short, deliberate brush strokes and dazzling feel for color and volume, he found a way to make the inanimate come alive. “Cézanne made a living thing out of a teacup,” the abstract pioneer Kandinsky wrote.

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