Landscape into Art

Pavel Machotka

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This beautiful book presents a new perspective on Paul Cézanne, one of the towering figures of nineteenth-century art. Pavel Machotka has photographed the sites of Cézanne's landscape paintings—whenever possible from the same spot and at the same time of day that Cézanne painted the scenes. Juxtaposing these color photographs with reproductions of the paintings, he offers a dazzling range of evidence to investigate how the great painter transformed nature into works of art.

Machotka, himself an artist, moves from painting to painting, examining textures and surfaces, pictorial rhythms, and inflections of tone. As he analyzes Cézanne's treatment of individual sites, their transposition into forms and colors, and the artist's responsiveness to the demands of each unique composition, we begin to see Cézanne as he saw himself: not as an early Cubist but as a painter who explored his motif for its rich compositional potential and presented a parallel and faithful conception of it. Using color to define form, while retaining hues that are anchored in reality, Cézanne achieved sensuous reconstructions rather than intellectual depictions like those of the Cubists.

While there are other books on Cézanne's landscapes, none is as closely informed by painterly knowledge and perception or as complete in its grasp of Cézanne's period and geography as this one. A visual delight, it is also an illuminating and original interaction with the artist's work.

Pavel Machotka is professor of psychology and art at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He has exhibited his own paintings at the Campbell-Thibaud Gallery in San Francisco and at other galleries, and his work was recently featured and reviewed in American Artist.

"[This book] offers fresh perspectives on the artist's work through new identifications of the sites he used, and comparisons of his paintings with specially commissioned photographs."—Art Newspaper

"Machotka provides alert and intricate analyses of color and composition in many of Cèzanne's landscape paintings. . . . Unique and fascinating."—Kenneth Baker, San Francisco Examiner & Chronicle

"This is an interesting, disciplined, valuable, working book about a determined, pioneering artist who forced art to become more concerned with doubts than certainties. . . . Machotka makes us think and focuses on the art, not the man—if only more art books were like this."—Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

"This book about a painter written by a painter will appeal to painters as well as students and scholars of modern art."—Library Journal

"Machotka, in both his illuminating text and sensitive photography, has done both us and Cézanne a great service."—Art Times

"An indispensable work on the artist. . . . The author reveals a sympathy and understanding of his subject that are rarely to be found in more straightforward monographs. . . . This beautifully produced and handsomely illustrated volume is essential reading for the Cézanne enthusiast."—Richard Verdi, Burlington Magazine

"This book is fascinating and will hold the reader for hours—the illustrations alone are gripping."—American Artist

"Cézanne: Landscape Into Art. . . cleverly juxtaposes many of the great French artist's landscapes with photographs (some of them dating from the nineteenth century) of the actual sites he depicted. It's a fresh, revealing and enjoyable feat of detective work in art."—Parade

"It is hard to develop a fresh approach to a painter as studies and revered as Cézanne but Machotka has managed it. . . . A goldmine for reference. Unlike most art historians, Machotka strives to account for a painting's aesthetic effect: that he is a painter himself is everywhere evident and always a bonus. He consistently discusses Cézanne's varied technique, his experimentation and command of design-the staple topic of criticism-with a keen eye to the pleasure these things give."—David Gervais, Modern and Contemporary France

"What Machotka demonstrates so effectively in the landscapes of Cezanne is most helpful in showing more generally what matters in making and understanding art."—Rudolf Arnheim, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism

ISBN: 9780300067019
Publication Date: March 27, 1996
172 pages, 9 1/4 x 11 1/4
47 b/w + 123 color illus.