L’œuvre is the fourteenth novel in the L Oeuvre, Emile Zola PDF-Macquart series by Émile Zola. It was first serialized in the periodical Gil Blas beginning in December 1885 before being published in novel form by Charpentier in 1886. English as The Masterpiece or His Masterpiece. It refers to the struggles of the protagonist Claude Lantier to paint a great work reflecting his talent and genius.
L’œuvre is a fictional account of Zola’s friendship with Paul Cézanne and a fairly accurate portrayal of the Parisian art world in the mid 19th century. Zola and Cézanne grew up together in Aix-en-Provence, the model for Zola’s Plassans, where Claude Lantier is born and receives his education. The book is often blamed for ending the friendship between Cézanne and Zola. Cézanne thanks Zola for sending him the novel. The novel covers about 15 years, ending in 1870. L’œuvre was translated into English by Ernest A.
Painter Claude Lantier advocates painting real subjects in real places, most notably outdoors. This is in stark contrast to the artistic establishment, where artists painted in the studio and concentrated on mythological, historical and religious subjects. His art making is revolutionary and he has a small circle of like-minded friends equally intent on shaking up the art world and challenging the establishment. Claude moves to the country to soak up more of the ‘Open Air’ atmosphere he revelled in as a child and to create more masterpieces. Accompanying him is Christine Hallegrain, who served as the model for Claude’s nude and they have a son.