Paul Cézanne: Wikis

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Paul Cézanne
Self portrait c. 1875
Birth name Paul Cézanne
Born 19 January 1839(1839-01-19)
Aix-en-Provence
Died 22 October 1906 (aged 67)
Aix-en-Provence
Nationality French
Field Painting
Movement Post-Impressionism
Works Rideau, Cruchon et Compotier, 1893–94
Forest, 1902–04

Paul Cézanne (French pronunciation: [pɔl seˈzan]; 19 January 1839 – 22 October 1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cézanne "is the father of us all" cannot be easily dismissed.

Cézanne's work demonstrates a mastery of design, colour, composition and draftsmanship. His often repetitive, sensitive and exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields, at once both a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature. The paintings convey Cézanne's intense study of his subjects, a searching gaze and a dogged struggle to deal with the complexity of human visual perception.

Contents

Life and work

Femme au Chapeau Vert (Woman in a Green Hat. Madame Cézanne.) 1894–1895
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Early years and family

The Cézannes came from the small town of Cesana now in West Piedmont, and it has been assumed that their name came from Italian origin.[1] Paul Cézanne was born on 19 January 1839 in Aix-en-Provence, in Provence in the south of France.[2] On 22 February, Paul was baptized in the parish church, with his grandmother and uncle Louis as godparents.[2] His father, Louis-Auguste Cézanne (28 July 1798 – 23 October 1886),[3] was the cofounder of a banking firm that prospered throughout the artist's life, affording him financial security that was unavailable to most of his contemporaries and eventually resulting in a large inheritance.[4] On the other hand, his mother, Anne-Elisabeth Honorine Aubert (24 September 1814 – 25 October 1897),[5] was vivacious and romantic, but quick to take offense.[6] It was from her that Paul got his conception and vision of life.[6] He also had two younger sisters, Marie and Rose, with whom he went to a primary school every day.[2][7]

At the age of ten, Paul entered the Saint Joseph school, where he studied drawing under Joseph Gibert, a Spanish monk, in Aix.[7][8] In 1852 Cézanne entered the Collège Bourbon (now Collège Mignet), where he met and became friends with Émile Zola, who was in a less advanced class,[4][7] as well as Baptistin Baille—three friends who would come to be known as "les trois inseparables" (the three inseparables).[9] He stayed there for six years, though in the last two years he was a day scholar.[10] From 1859 to 1861, complying with his father's wishes, Cézanne attended the law school of the University of Aix, while also receiving drawing lessons.[11] Going against the objections of his banker father, he committed himself to pursuing his artistic development and left Aix for Paris in 1861. He was strongly encouraged to make this decision by Zola, who was already living in the capital at the time. Eventually, his father reconciled with Cézanne and supported his choice of career. Cézanne later received an inheritance of 400,000 francs(£218,363.62) from his father, which rid him of all financial worries.[12]

Cézanne the artist

The Cardplayers, an iconic work by Cézanne (1892).

In Paris, Cézanne met the Impressionist Camille Pissarro. Initially the friendship formed in the mid-1860s between Pissarro and Cézanne was that of master and mentoree, with Pissarro exerting a formative influence on the younger artist. Over the course of the following decade their landscape painting excursions together, in Louveciennes and Pontoise, led to a collaborative working relationship between equals.

His early work is often concerned with the figure in the landscape and comprises many paintings of groups of large, heavy figures in the landscape, imaginatively painted. Later in his career, he became more interested in working from direct observation and gradually developed a light, airy painting style that was to influence the Impressionists enormously. Nevertheless, in Cézanne's mature work we see the development of a solidified, almost architectural style of painting. Throughout his life he struggled to develop an authentic observation of the seen world by the most accurate method of representing it in paint that he could find. To this end, he structurally ordered whatever he perceived into simple forms and colour planes. His statement "I want to make of impressionism something solid and lasting like the art in the museums",[13] and his contention that he was recreating Poussin "after nature" underscored his desire to unite observation of nature with the permanence of classical composition.

Les Grandes Baigneuses, 1898–1905: the triumph of Poussinesque stability and geometric balance.

Optical phenomena

Cézanne was interested in the simplification of naturally occurring forms to their geometric essentials, he wanted to "treat nature by the cylinder, the sphere, the cone" (a tree trunk may be conceived of as a cylinder, an apple or orange a sphere, for example). Additionally, the concentrated attention with which he recorded his observations of nature resulted in a profound exploration of binocular vision, which results in two slightly different simultaneous visual perceptions, and provides us with depth perception and a complex knowledge of spatial relationships. We see two different views simultaneously; Cézanne employed this aspect of visual perception in his painting to varying degrees. The observation of this fact, coupled with Cézanne's desire to capture the truth of his own perception, often compelled him to render the outlines of forms so as to at once attempt to display the distinctly different views of both the left and right eyes. Thus Cézanne's work augments and transforms earlier ideals of perspective, in particular single-point perspective.

Exhibitions and subjects

Cézanne's paintings were shown in the first exhibition of the Salon des Refusés in 1863, which displayed works not accepted by the jury of the official Paris Salon. The Salon rejected Cézanne's submissions every year from 1864 to 1869. Cézanne continued to submit works to the Salon until 1882. In that year, through the intervention of fellow artist Antoine Guillemet, Cézanne exhibited Portrait of Louis-Auguste Cézanne, Father of the Artist, reading 'l'Evénement', 1866 (National Gallery, Washington), his first and last successful submission to the Salon.[14]

Still Life with a Curtain (1895) illustrates Cézanne's increasing trend towards terse compression of forms and dynamic tension between geometric figures.

Before 1895 Cézanne exhibited twice with the Impressionists (at the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874 and the third Impressionist exhibition in 1877). In later years a few individual paintings were shown at various venues, until 1895, when the Parisian dealer, Ambroise Vollard, gave the artist his first solo exhibition. Despite the increasing public recognition and financial success, Cézanne chose to work in increasing artistic isolation, usually painting in the south of France, in his beloved Provence, far from Paris. He concentrated on a few subjects and was highly unusual for 19th-century painters in that he was equally proficient in each of these genres: still lifes, portraits, landscapes and studies of bathers. For the last, Cézanne was compelled to design from his imagination, due to a lack of available nude models. Like the landscapes, his portraits were drawn from that which was familiar, so that not only his wife and son but local peasants, children and his art dealer served as subjects. His still lifes are at once decorative in design, painted with thick, flat surfaces, yet with a weight reminiscent of Gustave Courbet. The 'props' for his works are still to be found, as he left them, in his studio (atelier), in the suburbs of modern Aix.

Although religious images appeared less frequently in Cézanne's later work, he remained a devout Roman Catholic and said, "When I judge art, I take my painting and put it next to a God-made object like a tree or flower. If it clashes, it is not art."[15]

Death of Cézanne

One day, Cézanne was caught in a storm while working in the field.[16] Only after working for two hours under a downpour did he decide to go home; but on the way he collapsed. He was taken home by a passing driver.[16] His old housekeeper rubbed his arms and legs to restore the circulation; as a result, he regained consciousness.[16] On the following day, he intended to continue working, but later on he fainted; the model with whom he was working called for help; he was put to bed, and he never left it again.[16] He died a few days later, on 22 October 1906.[16] He died of pneumonia and was buried at the old cemetery in his beloved hometown of Aix-en-Provence.[17]

Main periods of Cézanne's work

Paul Cézanne, about 1861

Various periods in the work and life of Cézanne have been defined.[18]

Dark period, Paris, 1861–1870

In 1863 Napoleon III created by decree the Salon des Refusés, at which paintings rejected for display at the Salon of the Académie des Beaux-Arts were to be displayed. The artists of the refused works included the young Impressionists, who were considered revolutionary. Cézanne was influenced by their style but his social relations with them were inept—he seemed rude, shy, angry, and given to depression. His works of this period[19] are characterized by dark colours and the heavy use of black. They differ sharply from his earlier watercolours and sketches at the École Spéciale de dessin at Aix-en-Provence in 1859, and their violence of expression is in contrast to his subsequent works.

In 1866–67, inspired by the example of Courbet, Cézanne painted a series of paintings with a palette knife. He later called these works, mostly portraits, une couillarde ("a coarse word for ostentatious virility").[20] Lawrence Gowing has written that Cézanne's palette knife phase "was not only the invention of modern expressionism, although it was incidentally that; the idea of art as emotional ejaculation made its first appearance at this moment".[20] Among the couillarde paintings are a series of portraits of his uncle Dominique in which Cézanne achieved a style that "was as unified as Impressionism was fragmentary".[21] Later works of the dark period include several erotic or violent subjects, such as Women Dressing (c.1867), The Rape (c.1867), and The Murder (c.1867–68), which depicts a man stabbing a woman who is held down by his female accomplice.

Impressionist period, Provence and Paris, 1870–1878

After the start of the Franco-Prussian War in July, 1870, Cézanne and his mistress, Marie-Hortense Fiquet, left Paris for L'Estaque, near Marseilles, where he changed themes to predominantly landscapes. He was declared a draft-dodger in January, 1871, but the war ended in February and the couple moved back to Paris, in the summer of 1871. After the birth of their son Paul in January, 1872, in Paris, they moved to Auvers in Val-d'Oise near Paris. Cézanne's mother was kept a party to family events, but his father was not informed of Hortense for fear of risking his wrath. The artist received from his father an allowance of 100 francs.

Jas de Bouffan, 1876.

Camille Pissarro lived in Pontoise. There and in Auvers, he and Cézanne painted landscapes together. For a long time afterwards, Cézanne described himself as Pissarro's pupil, referring to him as "God the Father" and saying, "We all stem from Pissarro".[22] Under Pissarro's influence Cézanne began to abandon dark colours and his canvases grew much brighter.

Leaving Hortense in the Marseille region, Cézanne moved between Paris and Provence, exhibiting in the first (1874) and third Impressionist shows (1877). In 1875, he attracted the attention of the collector Victor Chocquet, whose commissions provided some financial relief. But Cézanne's exhibited paintings attracted hilarity, outrage and sarcasm. Reviewer Louis Leroy said of Cézanne's portrait of Chocquet: "This peculiar looking head, the colour of an old boot might give [a pregnant woman] a shock and cause yellow fever in the fruit of her womb before its entry into the world".[23]

In March 1878, Cézanne's father found out about Hortense and threatened to cut Cézanne off financially but, in September, he decided to give him 400 francs for his family. Cézanne continued to migrate between the Paris region and Provence until Louis-Auguste had a studio built for him at his home, Jas de Bouffan, in the early 1880s. This was on the upper floor and an enlarged window was provided, allowing in the northern light but interrupting the line of the eaves. This feature remains today. Cézanne stabilized his residence in L'Estaque. He painted with Renoir there in 1882 and visited Renoir and Monet in 1883.

Mature period, Provence, 1878–1890

Jas de Bouffan, 1885–1887.

In the early 1880s the Cézanne family stabilized their residence in Provence, where they remained, except for brief sojourns abroad, from then on. The move reflects a new independence from the Paris-centered impressionists and a marked preference for the south, Cézanne's native soil. Hortense's brother had a house within view of Montagne Sainte-Victoire at Estaque. A run of paintings of this mountain from 1880 to 1883 and others of Gardanne from 1885 to 1888, are sometimes known as "the Constructive Period".

The year 1886 was a turning point for the family. Cézanne married Hortense. In that year also, Cézanne's father died, leaving him the estate purchased in 1859; he was 47. By 1888 the family was in the former manor, Jas de Bouffan, a substantial house and grounds with outbuildings, which afforded a new-found comfort. This house, with much-reduced grounds, is now owned by the city and is open to the public on a restricted basis.

Also in that year Cézanne broke off his friendship with Émile Zola, after the latter used him, in large part, as the basis for the unsuccessful and ultimately tragic fictitious artist Claude Lantier, in the novel (L'Œuvre). Cézanne considered this a breach of decorum and a friendship begun in childhood was irreparably damaged.

Final period, Provence, 1890–1905

Still Life with Apples and Oranges, 1895–1900.

Cézanne's idyllic period at Jas de Bouffan was temporary. From 1890 until his death he was beset by troubling events and he withdrew further into his painting, spending long periods as a virtual recluse. His paintings became well-known and sought after and he was the object of respect from a new generation of painters.

The problems began with the onset of diabetes in 1890, destabilizing his personality to the point where relationships with others were again strained. He travelled in Switzerland, with Hortense and his son, perhaps hoping to restore their relationship. Cézanne, however, returned to Provence to live; Hortense and Paul junior, to Paris. Financial need prompted Hortense's return to Provence but in separate living quarters. Cézanne moved in with his mother and sister. In 1891 he turned to Catholicism.

Cézanne alternated between painting at Jas de Bouffan and in the Paris region, as before. In 1895 he made a germinal visit to Bibémus Quarries and climbed Mt. Ste. Victoire. The labyrinthine landscape of the quarries must have struck a note, as he rented a cabin there in 1897 and painted extensively from it. The shapes are believed to have inspired the embryonic 'Cubist' style. Also in that year, his mother died, an upsetting event but one which made reconciliation with his wife possible. He sold the empty nest at Jas de Bouffan and rented a place on Rue Boulegon, where he built a studio.

The relationship, however, continued to be stormy. He needed a place to be by himself. In 1901 he bought some land along the Chemin des Lauves, an isolated road on some high ground at Aix, and commissioned a studio to be built there (now open to the public). He moved there in 1903. Meanwhile, in 1902, he had drafted a will excluding his wife from his estate and leaving everything to his son. The relationship was apparently off again; she is said to have burned the mementos of his mother.

From 1903 to the end of his life, he painted in his studio, working for a month in 1904 with Émile Bernard, who stayed as a house guest. After his death it became a monument, Atelier Paul Cézanne, or les Lauves.

Legacy

The Overture to Tannhäuser: The Artist's Mother and Sister, 1868, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.

After Cézanne died in 1906, his paintings were exhibited in Paris in a large scale museum-like retrospective in September 1907. The 1907 Cézanne retrospective at the Salon d'Automne greatly affected the direction that the avant-garde in Paris took, lending credence to his position as one of the most influential artists of the 19th century and to the advent of Cubism.

Cézanne's explorations of geometric simplification and optical phenomena inspired Picasso, Braque, Gris, and others to experiment with ever more complex multiple views of the same subject, and, eventually to the fracturing of form. Cézanne thus sparked one of the most revolutionary areas of artistic enquiry of the 20th Century, one which was to affect profoundly the development of modern art.

Gallery

Paintings

Still life paintings

Watercolours

Portraits and Self-portraits

Resources

Notes and References

  1. ^ J. Lindsay Cézanne; his life and art, p.3
  2. ^ a b c J. Lindsay Cézanne; his life and art, p.6
  3. ^ "Louis Auguste Cézanne". Guarda-Mor, Edição de Publicações Multimédia Lda.. http://genealogia.netopia.pt/pessoas/pes_show.php?id=472543. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  4. ^ a b "Paul Cézanne Biography (1839-1906)". Biography.com. http://www.biography.com/search/article.do?id=9542036&page=1. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  5. ^ "Louis Auguste Cézanne". Guarda-Mor, Edição de Publicações Multimédia Lda.. http://genealogia.netopia.pt/pessoas/pes_show.php?id=472544. Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  6. ^ a b A. Vollard First Impressions, p.16
  7. ^ a b c A. Vollard, First Impressions, p.14
  8. ^ P. Machotka Narration and Vision, p.9
  9. ^ National Gallery of Art timeline, retrieved February 11, 2009
  10. ^ J. Lindsay Cézanne; his life and art, p.12
  11. ^ P. Cézanne Paul Cézanne, letters, p.10
  12. ^ J. Lindsay Cézanne; his life and art, p.232
  13. ^ Paul Cézanne, Letters, edited by John Rewald, 1984.
  14. ^ Gowing, 1988, p. 110
  15. ^ "Paul Cézanne quotes". ThinkExist.com Quotations. http://thinkexist.com/quotation/when_i_judge_art-i_take_my_painting_and_put_it/218338.html. Retrieved 2007-02-17. 
  16. ^ a b c d e Vollard The Last Years, p.113–114
  17. ^ "Paul Cézanne 1839-1906". MyStudios.com. http://www.mystudios.com/art/post/cezanne/cezanne.html. Retrieved 2007-02-18. 
  18. ^ The scheme presented here is essentially that of the Encyclopedia Britannica. Some alternative names are mentioned. On the whole the various classifications tend to converge.
  19. ^ It is sometimes called "the Romantic Period", but Cézanne was not primarily interested in Romanticism. The term here refers to personal disposition, rather than connection with a historical movement.
  20. ^ a b Gowing 1988, p. 10.
  21. ^ Gowing 1988, p. 104.
  22. ^ Brion, 1974, p. 26
  23. ^ Brion, 1974, p. 34

References

  • Brion, Marcel (1974). Cézanne. Thames and Hudson. ISBN 0500860041. 
  • Chun, Young-Paik (2006). "Melancholia and Cézanne's Portraits: Faces beyond the mirror". in Griselda Pollock (ed.). Psychoanalysis and the Image. Routledge. ISBN 1405134635. 
  • Cézanne, Paul; John Rewald, Emile Zola, and Marguerite Kay. Paul Cézanne, letters. B. Cassirer. ISBN 0878172769. OCLC 1196743. 
  • Gowing, Lawrence; Adriani, Götz; Krumrine, Mary Louise; Lewis, Mary Tompkins; Patin, Sylvie; Rewald, John (1988). Cézanne: The Early Years 1859-1872. Harry N. Abrams. 
  • Lehrer, Jonah (2007). "Paul Cézanne, The Process of Sight". in Jonah Lehrer. Proust Was a Neuroscientist. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 0618620109. 
  • Klingsor, Tristan. Cézanne. Paris: Rieder. 
  • Lindsay, Jack. Cézanne; his life and art. United States: New York Graphic Society. ISBN 0821203401. OCLC 18027. 
  • Machotka, Pavel. Cézanne: Landscape into Art. United States: Yale University Press. ISBN 0300067011. OCLC 34558348. 
  • Pissarro, Joachim (2005). Cézanne & Pissarro Pioneering Modern Painting: 1865-1885. The Museum of Modern Art. ISBN 0870701843. 
  • Vollard, Ambroise. Cézanne. England: Courier Dover Publications. ISBN 0486247295. OCLC 10725645. 

External links

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Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Painting must give us the flavour of nature’s eternity.

Paul Cézanne (1839-01-191906-10-22) was a French Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism.

Sourced

Art has a harmony which parallels that of nature. The people who tell you that the artist is always inferior to nature are idiots! He is parallel to it.
I want to express myself clearly when I paint. In people who feign ignorance there is a kind of barbarism even more detestable than the academic kind: it’s no longer possible to be ignorant today.
  • Painting must give us the flavour of nature’s eternity. Everything, you understand. So I join together nature’s straying hands.. ..From all sides, here there and everywhere, I select colours, tones and shades; I set them down, I bring them together.. ..They make lines, they become objects – rocks, trees – without my thinking about them.. ..But if there is the slightest distraction, the slightest hitch, above all if I interpret too much one day, if I’m carried away today by a theory which contradicts yesterday’s, if I think while I’m painting, if I meddle, then woosh!, everything goed to pieces.
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 148
  • Art has a harmony which parallels that of nature. The people who tell you that the artist is always inferior to nature are idiots! He is parallel to it. Unless, of course, he deliberately intervenes. His whole aim must be silence. He must silence all the voices of prejudice within him, he must forget.. ..And then the entire landscape will engrave itself on the sensitive plate of his being.
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 150
  • Nature as it is seen and nature as it is felt, the nature that is there.. (he pointed towards the green and blue plain, J. G.) and the nature that is here (he tapped his forehead, J. G.) both of which have to fuse in order to endure, to live that life, half human and half divine, which is the life of art or, if you will .. the life of god. The landscape is reflected, humanized, rationalized within me. I objectivize it, project it, fix it on my canvas…
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 150
  • Colour is the place where our brain and the universe meet. That’s why colour appears so entirely dramatic, to true painters. Look at Sainte-Victoire there (the hill Cézanne painted frequently, fh) How it soars, how imperiously it thirsts for the sun!. ..For a long time I was quite unable to paint Sainte-Victoire; I had no idea to go about it because, like others who just look at it, I imagined the shadow to be concave, whereas in fact it’s convex, it disperses outward from the centre. Instead of accumulating, it evaporates, becomes fluid, bluish, participating in the movements of the surrounding air.
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 153
  • Painting from nature is not copying the object, it is realizing sensations.
    • What I know or have seen of his life, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 46
  • Yes, a bunch of carrots, observed directly, painted simply in the personal way one sees it, worth more than the Ecole’s everlasting slices of buttered bread, that tobacco-juice painting, slavishly done by the book? The day is coming when a single original carrot will give birth to a revolution.
    • What I know or have seen of his life, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 68
  • Here you are, put this somewhere, on your work table. You must always have this before your eyes.. ..It’s a new order of painting. Our Renaissance starts here.. ..There’s a pictorial truth in things. This rose and this white lead us to it by a path hitherto unknown to our sensibility.. (on a photo of the painting ‘Olypmpia’ of Manet, fh)
    • What I know or have seen of his life, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 71
  • This will be my picture, the one I shall leave behind.. ..But the centre? Where is the centre? I can’t find the centre.. ..Tell me, what shall I group it all around? Ah, Poussin's arabesque! He knew all about that. In the London ‘Bacchanal’, in the Louvre ‘Flora’ (both paintings of Poussin, Cézanne admired, fh), where does the line of the figures and the landscape begin, where does it finish.. ..It’s all one. There is no centre. Personally I would like something like a hole, a ray of light, an invisible sun to keep an eye on my figures, to bathe them, care them, intensify them.. ..in the middle (remark on one of his paintings ‘The Bathers’, fh)
    • What I know or have seen of his life, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 78
  • See how the light tenderly love the apricots, it takes them over completely, enters into their pulp, light them from all sides! But it is miserly with the peaches and light only one side of them.
    • Fumées dans la campagne, Edmonmd Jaloux, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 119 (note 2)
  • Personally I would like to have pupils, a studio, pass on my love to them, work with them, without teaching them anything.. ..A convent, a monastery, a phalanstery of painting where one could train together.. ..but no programme, no instruction in painting.. ..drawing is still alright, it doesn’t count, but painting – the way to learn is to look at the masters, above all at nature, and to watch other people painting..
    • What I know or have seen of his life, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 124
  • Alas, because I’m no longer innocent. We’re civilized beings. Whether we like it or not, we have the cares and concerns of classical civilization in our bones. I want to express myself clearly when I paint. In people who feign ignorance there is a kind of barbarism even more detestable than the academic kind: it’s no longer possible to be ignorant today. One no longer is. We come into the world armed with facility. Facility is the death of art and we must rid ourselves of it.
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 155
  • In that Renaisance (Cellini, Tintoretto, Titian..) there was an explosion of unique truthfulness, a love of painting and form.. ..Then come the Jesuits and everything is formal; everything has to be taught and learned. It required a revolution for nature to be rediscovered; for Delacroix to paint his beach at Etratat, Corot his roman rubble, Courbet his forest scenes and his waves. And how miserable slow that revolution was, how many stages it had to go through!.. ..These artists had not yet discovered that nature has more to do with depth than with surfaces. I can tell you, you can do things tot the surface.. ..but by going deep you automatically go to the truth. You feel a healthy need to be truthful. You’d rather strip your canvas right down than invent or imagine a detail. You want to know.
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 pp. 157-158
  • ..But there is better. Simplicity, being direct. Everything else is just a game, just building castles in the sky. Basically I don’t think of anything when I paint. I see colours. I strive with joy to convey them on to my canvas just as I see them. They arrange themselves as they choose, any old way. Sometimes that makes a picture. I’m brainless animal. Very content if I could be just that..
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 pp. 158-159
  • ..and wanting to force nature to say things, making trees twist and rocks frown, as Gustave Doré does, or even painting it like Leornardo da Vinci, that’s literature too. There’s logic of colour, damn it all! The painter owes allegiance to that alone. Never to the logic of the brain; if he abandons himself to that logic, he’s lost.. ..Painting is first and foremost an optical affaire. The stuff of our art is there, in what our eyes are thinking.. ..If you respect nature, it will always unravel its meaning for you.
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 161
  • Colour, if I may say so, is biological. Colour is alive and colour alone makes things come alive.. ..Without losing any part of myself, I need to get back to that instinct, so that these colours in the scattered fields signify an idea to me, just as to them they signify a crop. Confronted by a yellow, they spontaneously feel the harvesting activity required of them, just as I, when faced with the same ripening tint..
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 162
  • Treat nature in terms of the cylinder, the sphere, and the cone, the whole put into perspective so that each side of an object, or of a plane, leads towards a central point. Lines parallel to the horizon give breadth, whether a sections of nature, or, if you prefer, of the spectacle which Pater omnipotens aeterne Deus unfolds before your eyes. Lines perpendicular to this horizon give depth.. ..Everything I am telling you (Joachim Gasquet, fh) about - the sphere, the cone, cylinder, concave shadow – on mornings when I’m tired these notions of mine get me going, they stimulate me, I soon forget them once I start using my eyes.
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 pp. 163-164
  • But what an eye Monet has, the most prodigious eye since painting began! I raise my hat to him. As for Courbet, he already had the image in his eye, ready-made. Monet used to visit him, you know, in his early days. . ..But a touch of green, believe me, is enough to give us a landscape, just as a flesh tone will translate a face for us..
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 pp. 164
  • That is why, perhaps, all of us derive Pissarro. He had the good luck to be born in the West Indies, where he learned how to draw without a teacher. He told me all about it. In 1865 he was already cutting out black, bitumen, raw sienna and the ochre’s. That’s a fact. Never paint with anything but the three primary colours and their derivatives. , he used to say me. Yes, he was the first Impressionist.
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 164
  • Monet’s cliffs will survive as a prodigious series, as will a hundred others of his canvases.. ..He’ll be in the Louvre, for sure, alongside Constable and Turner. Damn it, he’s even greater. He painted the iridescence of the earth. He’s painted water. Remember those Rouen cathedrals (Monet painted, fh).. ..But where everything slips away in these pictures of Monet's, nowadays we must insert a solidity, a framework..
    • What he told me – The motif, Joachim Gasquet, as quoted in Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, - a Memoir with Conversations, Thames and Hudson, London 1991 p. 165

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