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Cézanne’s Other

The Portraits of Hortense

Susan Sidlauskas (Author)

Available worldwide

Hardcover, 320 pages
ISBN: 9780520257450
October 2009
$85.00, £71.00
In the voluminous scholarship that's been written on Paul Cézanne, little has been said about the twenty-four portraits in oil that Cézanne made of his wife, Hortense Fiquet Cézanne, over an extended twenty-year period. In Cézanne's Other: The Portraits of Hortense, Susan Sidlauskas breaks new ground, focusing on these paintings as a group and looking particularly at the differences that render many of them unrecognizable as the same person. She argues that Cézanne sidestepped the conventional goals of portraiture-he avoids representing a consistent, identifiable physiognomy or conventional feminine postures and does not portray the subject's inner life-making lack of fixedness itself his subject, which leads him ultimately to a radical reformulation of modern portraiture. Sidlauskas also upends the notion of Mme Cézanne as the irrelevant and absent spouse. Instead she reveals Hortense Fiquet Cézanne as a presence so crucial to the artist that she became the essential “other” to his ever-evolving “self.” Coupling historical texts from philosophy, psychology, and physiology with more recent writings from women's and gender studies, cognitive psychology, and visual culture, Sidlauskas demonstrates that Mme Cézanne offered intimacy at arm's length for the painter who has been dubbed “the lone wolf of Aix.”

Introduction: Seeing Cézanne
1. The Counter-Muse A Brief History
2. The Color of Emotion
3. The Materiality of Vision
4. Toward an Ideal Dissolving Difference
Conclusion: The Woman in Question

Appendix: Paintings of Hortense Fiquet Cézanne
List of Illustrations
Susan Sidlauskas is Associate Professor and Graduate Director of the Department of Art History at Rutgers University. She is the author of Body, Place, and Self in Nineteenth-Century Painting and coauthor of Skin + Bones: Parallel Practices in Fashion and Architecture.
“This rich substantial reading raises Cezanne studies to a new level. . . . Highly recommended.”—Choice
“[Sidlauskas’s] eloquent and penetrating visual analyses are a pleasure to read. . . . In this impressive and important book, Sidlauskas demonstrates that Cezanne’s portraits of his spouse were one of the most important sides where he explored and affirmed the broader network of sympathetic (and antipathetic) forces in nature.”—Women’s Art Journal
“Sidlauskas’s observations are detailed, sensitive and sometimes truly poetic.”—Karsten Schubert Burlington Magazine
“Susan Sidlauskas assesses a massive body of contextual information, coordinating it with her original observations. She has mastered both the general and the specific about Cézanne. Through her sustained attention to the artist's portraits of his wife, she expands our sense of his practice as well as his emotional life. Perhaps most importantly, she gives us insights into new ways of perceiving and depicting, ways nevertheless consistent with Cézanne's world. Her passages of description are remarkable, sometimes breathtaking: Everyone interested in painting should read them.”—Richard Shiff, Effie Marie Cain Regents Chair in Art, The University of Texas at Austin

“Susan Sidlauskas's Cézanne's Other is a brilliant and original study of the artist's series of representations of his wife, Hortense Fiquet. Rejecting clichéd arguments about 'depersonalization,' Sidlauskas affirms human idiosyncrasy and uniqueness through the potency of pictorial invention. Sidlauskas's study, both incisive and wide-ranging, makes us re-think such terms as 'resemblance,' 'recognition,' 'mimesis', and 'subjecthood' andthe entire notion of the portrait itself in relation to Cézanne's endless variations on the theme of Mme. Cézanne. This is an important addition both to Cézanne studies and the investigation of portraiture in general.”—Linda Nochlin, Lila Acheson Wallace Professor of Modern Art at the New York University Institute of Fine Arts

Robert Motherwell Book Award, Dedalus Foundation

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