Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) part II

  • Paul Cezanne - The Trees Of Jas De Bouffan, 1875-76

From 1882, Cézanne executed a substantial number of landscape pictures of his native Aix and of L’Estaque, a small fishing village near Marseille, in which he continues to concentrate on pictorial problems of creating depth. Here Cézanne used an organized system of layers to construct a series of horizontal planes, which build dimension and draw the viewer into the landscape. This technique is apparent in Mont Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley (29.100.64) and The Gulf of Marseille Seen from L’Estaque (29.100.67). In Gardanne (57.181), he painted the landscape with intense volumetric patterns of geometric rhythms most pronounced in the houses. This picture anticipates the Cubism of Georges Braque (1882–1963) and Pablo Picasso (1881–1973), especially Braque’s impressions of L’Estaque of about 1908.

In 1890, Cézanne began a series of five pictures of Provençal peasants playing cards. Widely celebrated as among the finest figure compositions completed by the artist, The Card Players (61.101.1) demonstrates his system of color gradations to build form and create a three-dimensional quality in the figures. Continuing on this theme of the rural laborer, Seated Peasant (1997.60.2) celebrates the dignity of working-class citizens of Third Republic France (1870–1940).

In 1895, the dealer Ambroise Vollard (1867–1939) held Cézanne’s first one-man exhibition at his gallery in Paris. Although the exhibition met with some skepticism, Cézanne’s reputation as a great artist grew quickly, and he was discussed and promoted by a small circle of enthusiasts, including the art historian and critic Bernard Berenson (1865–1959), American painter Mary Cassatt (1844–1926), and collectors Henry Osborne Havemeyer (1848–1907) and his wife Louisine Havemeyer (1855–1929). Posthumous exhibitions at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune and the Salon d’Automne in 1907 in Paris established Cézanne’s artistic legacy.


See the beginning of this article in part I

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