Alex Danchev, talking about his life of Cézanne – Monday 20 May, 5.30-7pm

On Monday 20 May, 5.30-7pm (Haldane Room, Wolfson College, Oxford), Alex Danchev (University of Nottingham) will talk at the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing about his new book, Cézanne: A Life.

Today we view Cézanne as a monumental figure, but during his lifetime (1839-1906), many did not understand him or his work. With brilliant insight, drawing on a vast range of primary sources, Alex Danchev tells the story of an artist who was never accepted into the official Salon: he was considered a revolutionary at best and a barbarian at worst, whose paintings were unfinished, distorted and strange. His work sold to no one outside his immediate circle until his late thirties, and he maintained that ‘to paint from nature is not to copy an object; it is to represent its sensations’ – a belief way ahead of his time, with stunning implications that became the obsession of many other artists and writers, from Matisse and Braque to Rilke and Gertrude Stein. Beginning with the restless teenager from Aix who was best friends with Emile Zola at school, Danchev carries us through the trials of a painter tormented by self-doubt, who always remained an outsider, both of society and the bustle of the art world. Cézanne: A Life delivers not only the fascinating days and years of the visionary who would ‘astonish Paris with an apple’, with interludes analysing his self-portraits – but also a complete assessment of Cézanne’s ongoing influence through artistic imaginations in our own time. He is, as this life shows, a cultural icon comparable to Marx or Freud.

This talk is open to all and free of charge; no reservation required. We’d love to see you there!

You can read a review of Alex Danchev’s Cézanne: A Life by clicking here


OCLW’s Conference – ‘The Lives of Objects – registration now open

From 20-22 September 2013, the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing will hold its inaugural conference on ‘The Lives of Objects’. We are delighted to announce that online registration for this conference is now open (you can do a ‘paper registration’, by downloading, printing and completing a registration form, and sending it, with a cheque (made payable to ‘Wolfson College, Oxford’). The registration form will be uploaded this weekend).

You can find information about registration, a draft programme, the intellectual rationale for the conference and information about Wolfson and the surrounding area on the official OCLW conference webpage. Unfortunately the call for papers is closed, and we cannot consider any further abstracts for presentation.

Please note that delegates will be asked to choose ONE out of THREE options for a trip to one of Oxford’s museums; there are very limited spaces for one of these options (tour of the Museum of History of Science, Oxford), so please register asap if you wish to go on this trip.

If you have any queries about the conference, and registration, please email me. I hope you’re as excited about the conference and the proposed programme as we are!

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