French post-impressionist Paul Cézanne (1839–1906), "the painter of apples" synthesized formal problems through a close study of objects throughout his life. Although his style earned him notoriety amongst Parisian painters when he arrived in Paris in the 1860. For glaring colors, skewed perspective, and thickly painted surfaces that unmoored objects and their detached meanings from conventional representation, Cézanne set still-life painting on a totally new course, rescuing it from its low position in the academic hierarchy of French painting and prefiguring later compositions of masters from Pablo Picasso to Andy Warhol. The exhibition, The World Is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne, runs from June 22 to September 22 at The Barnes Foundation. Image courtesy: The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, 2014.
Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Fruit and Glass of Wine (Nature morte avec fruits et verre de vin), 1877-79, oil on canvas, 10 1⁄ 2 × 12 7⁄8 in. (26.7 × 32.7 cm), Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1950-134-32, The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection. His paintings invite viewers to rethink the world and the place of man and objects in it.
Over the course of his career, Cézanne moved progressively towards a highly structured style of still-life painting, characterized by ever more deliberate arrangements of objects. His “classic” phase culminated in the 1890s and is represented in the works like The Kitchen Table (c. 1890). Paul Cézanne, The Kitchen Table (La table de cuisine), 1888–90, oil on canvas, 33 3⁄8 × 39 1⁄2 in. (84.8 × 100.3 cm), Musée d’Orsay, Paris, RF 2819
Self Portrait Paul Cézanne with Apple, graphite on paper, 6 3/4 x 6 13/16 in. Cincinnati Art Museum Gift of Emily Poole. This work comes from the Cincinnati Art Museum through the generosity of the Oliver Family Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Still Life with Bread and Eggs, 1865, oil on canvas, 23 1/4x30 in. Cincinnati Art Museum, Gift of Mary E. Johnston. This work comes from the Cincinnati Art Museum through the generosity of the Oliver Family Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio.
Paul Cézanne, Sugar Bowl, Pears, and Blue Cup (Sucrier, poires et tasse bleue), c. 1866, oil on canvas, 11 13⁄16 × 16 in. (30 × 40.6 cm), Paris, Musée d’Orsay, on deposit at the Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence. Soon after arriving in Paris in the 1860s, Cézanne became a notorious figure, unprecedented in the history of French art. At the center of his radical self-fashioning were his still lifes of often glaring colors, skewed perspective, and thickly painted surfaces that unmoored objects and their meanings from conventional representation.
Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Carafe, Milk Can, Bowl, and Orange (Carafe, boîte à lait, bol et orange), 1879–80, oil on canvas, 21 1⁄4 × 23 3⁄4 in. (54 × 60.3 cm), Dallas Museum of Art, 1985.R.10, The Wendy and Emery Reves Collection. Cézanne established his distinctive style through works such as Still Life: Flask, Glass, and Jug (c. 1877) and Apples and Cakes (1877), recasting the physical and perceptual relations between people and things.
Paul Cézanne, Pitcher and Plate with Pears (Pichet et assiette de poires), 1895–98, oil on canvas, 19 5⁄16 × 23 3⁄16 in. (49 × 59 cm), Private Collection (Courtesy Nancy Whyte Fine Arts, Inc).
Vase of Flowers exemplifies Cézanne’s later obsessions with contours and surfaces. Paul Cézanne, Vase of Flowers (Bouquet de fleurs), 1900/1903, oil on canvas, 39 3⁄4 × 32 1⁄4 in. (101 × 81.9 cm), National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, 1958.10.2, Gift of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer.