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The Art of Cézanne Manuscripts

Identifier: AC

Scope and Content

This collection consists of background materials, drafts, catalogue data, and proofs for The Art of Cézanne by Albert C. Barnes and Violette de Mazia. Background materials include notes taken by students during classes taught by Barnes and de Mazia at the Foundation in 1933 and 1934, and notes taken at various museums and exhibitions, most notably the major Cézanne retrospective held at the Musée de l’Orangerie in 1936. Drafts are in typescript, carbon copy, and manuscript form. Several drafts are by Foundation associate Laurence Buermeyer, who extensively reworked chapters for publication. Drafts are corrected by Barnes, de Mazia, Buermeyer, and Foundation employees Philip Jenney, Cynthia Flannery Stine, Nelle E. Mullen, and Mary Mullen. Pencil and colored-pencil illustrations, most likely by de Mazia, enliven several drafts. Drafts also contain instructions and notes between the many collaborators, documenting the role each played in the production of the finished book.

The series of final notes contains corrections, queries, and lists of facts to be checked. There is also a sample book binding sent by the publisher, and original artwork for the book jacket by artist and Barnes Foundation teacher Angelo Pinto. Information on specific artworks can be found in the catalogue data. Galley and page proofs complete the collection. No galley proofs exist for the analyses, which make up the second half of the book. These were set directly into page proof in an effort to complete publication in time for Cézanne’s centenary on January 18, 1939.


  • Creation: circa 1933–1938

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research to qualified researchers by appointment only. Please contact the Archives Department for information on access and research.

Use Restrictions

The Barnes Foundation’s writings files are the physical property of the Barnes Foundation Archives. The Foundation holds literary rights only for material created by staff of the Foundation and material given to the Foundation with such rights specifically assigned. For all other material, literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. Researchers are responsible for determining the identity of rights holders and obtaining their permission for publication and for other purposes where stated.

Some items in this collection may be too fragile for use without the archivist’s supervision. Please consult the archivist for more information.

Historical Note

Dr. Albert C. Barnes established the Barnes Foundation in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts.” During the next seventeen years, he and Foundation teacher Violette de Mazia coauthored four books of aesthetic philosophy, art criticism, and art history. The Art of Cézanne, published in 1939, was their fourth and final collaboration. The book was the culmination of a longstanding interest in Cézanne, whose art Dr. Barnes began collecting in 1912. Chapters on Cézanne appeared in the first edition of The Art in Painting (1925) and in The Art of Renoir (1935). Not satisfied with the quality of the “data” on which their earlier efforts were based, Barnes and de Mazia undertook a thorough examination of Cézanne’s work, applying their scientific method of art appreciation to a study of the artist’s form and technique. While conducting research on Renoir in Europe in 1933 and 1934, the authors took side trips to investigate Cézanne, traveling to Spain to explore the possible influence of El Greco, and visiting several private collections and Cézanne’s former residence to collect further information.

These preliminary notes were passed along to Foundation associate Laurence Buermeyer, who proposed a general outline for the book and worked with Barnes and de Mazia on drafts and revisions at all stages of the book’s development. Several other Foundation staff members assisted with the preparation of the manuscript. The Foundation’s former recording secretary, Laura V. Geiger (known as “Jane”), had retired in November 1935, and Cynthia Flannery Stine was hired to take on some of her duties. Stine and the sisters Nelle E. Mullen and Mary Mullen took dictation, typed notes and drafts, checked grammar and punctuation, and helped to verify catalogue data. Another Foundation employee, Philip Jenney, who later went on to manage Dr. Barnes’s farming interests, also compiled catalogue data and edited manuscripts. Foundation teacher and artist Angelo Pinto contributed the design of the book jacket. Despite the best efforts of this team, the book missed Dr. Barnes’s proposed publication date of January 18, 1939, the centenary of Cézanne’s birth. It was published a few weeks later on February 9, 1939.

The book was praised by reviewers for its comprehensive scope and lucid, concise prose. Comparing Cézanne to James Joyce, Barnes and de Mazia argued that although the artist's works might seem bizarre and unintelligible to a novice, they could be understood through careful analysis. Viewers could learn to see Cézanne’s true virtues and defects by carefully examining both his technique and the effect he intended to achieve. The book is unusual for its long biographical section, in which Barnes explores the psychology of romanticism and its relation to the essential nature of power, using Cézanne’s life and work as an exemplar. Although The Art of Cézanne sold relatively few copies on its initial publication, it is still in print and is currently a part of the Barnes Foundation’s educational program.


4.5 Linear feet

Language of Materials



This collection consists of background materials and drafts in manuscript, typescript, and carbon copy form, as well as galley proofs and page proofs for The Art of Cézanne by Albert C. Barnes and Violette de Mazia.

Acquisition Information

These records were part of a writings file housed in the Barnes Foundation’s administration building storage area.

Related Collections

  1. Albert C. Barnes Correspondence. Barnes Foundation Archives, Philadelphia, PA.

Processed By

Adrienne Pruitt. Finding aid written by Adrienne Pruitt, March 2007.

The Art of Cézanne Manuscripts circa 1933–1938 AC
Finding aid prepared by Adrienne Pruitt
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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Funding provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Edition statement
The Barnes Foundation Archives 2025 Benjamin Franklin Parkway Philadelphia, PA 19130 Telephone: (215) 278-7280 Email:

Repository Details

Part of the CEPT Archives Repository

City on a Hill MA 03210 United States