Jackson Arn at Art In America:
IT TAKES A STRONG STOMACH for paradox to write that Paul Cézanne “cannot be written about any more.” When art historian T.J. Clark began a 2010 London Review of Books article on the painter this way, he meant no insult. The post-Impressionist and proto-modernist Cézanne was one of the keenest observers of the industrial disenchantment of late 19th-century Western Europe. In the 21st century, Clark argued, his paintings had become “remote to the temper of our times,” ergo, a tough subject. Accordingly, Clark’s new study of the painter, If These Apples Should Fall: Cézanne and the Present, is a book about Cézanne, but also about the difficulties of writing such a book.
Clark accepts that Cézanne’s paintings communicate some fundamental quality of modernity, and he is willing to risk almost anything to hunt down what it was. His worry, sometimes more palpable than his overarching argument, is that Cézanne can’t be caught.