Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Paul Cezanne: A Painter’s Journey

Paul Cezanne: A Painter’s Journey

Robert Burleigh
For ages 8 to 12
Abrams, 2006   ISBN: 978-0810957848

Paul Cezanne did not receive the support that you might think a painter of his stature should receive. In his lifetime he had to fight against the doubts of others and he had to battle with his own self doubt. Many people did not like his art because it was different from what they were used to and they therefore decided that Cezanne was not skilled and this his work did not have merit. Quiet and gentle Cezanne nevertheless persisted and today his work is admired by art lovers of all ages all over the world.

Born in Aix-en-Provence and the son of a businessman, Cezanne did not always love art but his love of nature inspired him to want to capture what he saw in some way. Over time he began to realize that creating paintings and drawings would provide him with the means to do this. Like so many other aspiring young artists Cezanne went to Paris to study and like so many others before and after him he struggled to find his own style. Then Cezanne began to look at the art created by the Impressionists. He became friends with several of these painters and they helped him lighten up his paintings. Though Cezanne admired the work of this group of painters, he never truly joined them and was something of an “outsider.”

In this superb book the author not only tells us Cezanne’s story but he examines his art, helping us to see what makes the paintings special. He encourages and invites us to think about Cezanne’s life and he explores the driving force which kept the artist going even when times were hard. With pathos and understanding the author helps his readers understand what Cezanne’s life was like. Beautifully reproduced paintings, numerous photographs, and an engaging and thoughtful text makes this book a joy to read.