Cezánne's Provence and his devotion to apples, at the Tate

Picasso considered him his artistic father, Monet said he was the best, Pissarro was his soulmate, Émile Zola his godfather and Matisse, when he doubted himself and what he was doing made sense, he looked at a work by Paul Cézanne in search of security.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
04 October 2022 Tuesday 03:52
5 Reads
Cezánne's Provence and his devotion to apples, at the Tate

Picasso considered him his artistic father, Monet said he was the best, Pissarro was his soulmate, Émile Zola his godfather and Matisse, when he doubted himself and what he was doing made sense, he looked at a work by Paul Cézanne in search of security... Everyone adored him, except his father - who would have preferred him to have been a lawyer - and the Parisian cultural establishment, who saw him as a dissident and a rebel who challenged his immutable principles.

London's Tate Modern has brought together eighty paintings and prints, on loan from museums in Europe, Asia and America, to present the largest exhibition dedicated to the master from Aix-en-Provence in Britain in more than a quarter of a century, and break many of the taboos and clichés surrounding his figure, such as his unsociable character or his lack of interest in politics.

“With an apple I will revolutionize Paris”, said the young Cézanne when he abandoned the provincial life of the south of France for the capital cosmopolitanism of the metropolis in the 1960s (in reality he always straddled the two worlds)”. And boy did he do it! A century later, although it was already too late for him, he was considered the inspiration of Fauvism, Cubism, Expressionism, some forms of abstract art...

The Tate exhibition is a journey through the various stages of his life, his artistic career and the multiple composition techniques, colors and formats with which he experimented, with examples of his portraits (he preferred well-known people to professional models, there are forty of his wife and muse Marie-Hortense Fiquet), of the Provençal landscapes that made him feel at home (Mont Sainte Victoire, the coves of L'Éstaque...), still lifes (with an emphasis on apples and pears, and sometimes a touch of ginger), the images of bathers...

In 1870, established in Paris, he associated himself with the Impressionists to soon distance himself from their circle - without losing friendships - and go his own way, parallel in a certain way but different. He was so admired by his contemporaries that Picasso, Matisse, Monet, Gauguin, Renoir and later Henry Moore bought his paintings.

One of the objectives of Natalia Sidlina, the curator of the Tate exhibition, is to dismantle the impression that the painter was enjoying the politics and social movements of his turbulent time (the civil war in the United States, the invasion of France by Prussia, the Paris Commune...), with the fiercest power struggles seen since the French Revolution, in a country divided between monarchists, republicans, regionalists and imperialists, as well as between aristocrats, bourgeois ( like his family) and workers.

It is true that he was not a declared anarchist like his friend Camille Pisarro, but he was subversive in his own way, and he was committed to the abolitionist cause, as the image of Scipio shows (a black model representing a slave with whip marks on his back). , loaned by the Museum of Sao Paulo. The writer Émile Zola, a childhood friend, greatly influenced his way of thinking.

Cézanne cultivated himself, with his way of speaking and dressing, a reputation as a lonely and rustic type. But in reality he was one of the most cultivated people of his group and even of his generation, who spoke Latin, and he did it as a way of distancing himself from some Parisian forms that he considered corny, and claiming those Provençal roots that accompanied him until the end. .

The exhibition is organized thematically to show its evolution. It begins with a self-portrait of him from the 1930s, in which he presents himself as confident, mature and sophisticated, skeptical of political movements and social changes in a world that is changing very quickly. The first half explores his life, personal relationships, and creative circle, while the second groups his works by era, style, and place, from Paris rooftops to sixteen shades of blue still lifes, and from Picasso's bathers to landscapes. of Aix-en-Provence. Always, yes, with an apple at hand...

Comments

Warning!

You have to login for comment. If you are not a member? Register now.

Login Sign Up