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Peter Murray Memorial Lecture: T.J.Clark, What Cezanne Saw in Pissarro

Venue: Birkbeck Clore Management Centre

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After four or five years of aggressive and original achievement as a painter, Cezanne apprenticed himself to Pissarro in the 1870s, working side by side with the master.  Why?  What did he see in Pissarro that he thought essential to understand?  What couldn't he emulate?  In what ways does the difference between the two artists matter to the art we call 'modern'?


T. J. Clark is one of our most influential and wide-ranging art historians. He was born in Bristol, England in 1943, took a B.A. in Modern History at Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in Art History at the Courtauld Institute, University of London. He taught at various places in England and the USA, and from 1988 to 2010 at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is George C. and Helen N. Pardee Chair Emeritus. Clark is the author of a series of books on the social character and formal dynamics of modern art: The Absolute Bourgeois: Artists and Politics in France 1848-1851 (1973); Image of the People: Gustave Courbet and the 1848 Revolution (1973); The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and his Followers (1984); and Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism (1999); as well as Afflicted Powers: Capital and Spectacle in a New Age of War (written with “Retort,” 2005); The Sight of Death: An Experiment in Art Writing (2006); Picasso and Truth: From Cubism to Guernica (2013); a book accompanying an exhibition at Tate Britain, co-authored with Anne M. Wagner, Lowry and the Painting of Modern Life (2013) and Heaven on Earth: Painting and the Life to Come (2018). For the past several years he has written art criticism regularly for the London Review of Books.  He was Visiting Professor at the Birkbeck Institute of Humanities from October 2016 to September 2019.


The Peter Murray Memorial Lecture is a biennial lecture hosted by the Department of History of Art at Birkbeck, in memory of its founder, Professor Peter Murray. It is generously supported by the Murray Bequest.


The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception and is free of charge and open to all.




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