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Robert Motherwell Book Award 2019
The winners of the 2019 Robert Motherwell Book Award are Cézanne’s Gravity (Yale University Press) by Carol Armstrong, and Eugenics in the Garden: Transatlantic Architecture and the Crafting of Modernity (University of Texas Press) by Fabiola López-Durán. The awards carry a $10,000 prize for each author.
Cézanne’s Gravity is an original and ambitious reassessment of the art and influence Paul Cézanne. Whereas previous studies of the artist have often looked at his work in relation to its influence on Cubism and the development of abstraction, Carol Armstrong examines Cézanne’s painting from a phenomenological and historical perspective. In this remarkably rich book, Armstrong convincingly relates the spatial structures of Cézanne’s paintings to Albert Einstein’s notions of space and time, and to the expansive, evocatively non-narrative works of artists and writers such as Virginia Woolf, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Rainer Maria Rilke, and Helen Frankenthaler. Written with an exceptionally fine combination of scholarly rigor and attention to the physicality Cézanne’s of paintings, this book also offers a new methodology for art historical inquiry outside linear narratives.
Carol Armstrong is a professor of Art History at Yale University. She has published books and essays on Edgar Degas, Edouard Manet, Paul Cézanne, 19th and 20th century photography, and modern and contemporary women artists, and has curated a number of outstanding exhibitions.