Images from Wikimedia Commons
The Portraits of Hortense
This rich substantial reading raises Cezanne studies to a new level... Highly recommended.
Sidlauskas’s observations are detailed, sensitive and sometimes truly poetic.
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.
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.