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date: 27 May 2024

Cézanne, Paulfree

(b Aix-en-Provence, Jan 19, 1839; d Aix-en-Provence, Oct 23, 1906).

Cézanne, Paulfree

(b Aix-en-Provence, Jan 19, 1839; d Aix-en-Provence, Oct 23, 1906).
  • Geneviève Monnier
  • , revised by André Dombrowski

Updated in this version

updated and revised

French painter. He was one of the most important painters of the second half of the 19th century. In many of his early works, up to about 1870, he depicted dark, imaginary subjects in a vehement and expressive manner. In the 1870s he came under the influence of Impressionism, particularly as practiced by Camille Pissarro, and he participated in the First (1874) and Third (1877) Impressionist Exhibitions. Though he considered the study of nature essential to painting, he nevertheless opposed many aspects of the Impressionist aesthetic. He epitomized the reaction against it when he declared: “I wanted to make of Impressionism something solid and enduring, like the art in museums.” Believing color and form to be inseparable, he tried to emphasize structure and solidity in his work, features he thought neglected by Impressionism. For this reason he was a central figure in Post-Impressionism. He rarely dated his works (and often did not sign them either), which makes it hard to ascertain the chronology of his oeuvre with any precision. Until the end of his life he received little public success and was repeatedly rejected by the Paris Salon. In his last years his work began to influence many younger artists, including both the Fauves and the Cubists, and he is therefore often seen as a precursor of 20th-century art.

I. Life and work.

1. Oil paintings.

(i) Early period, before 1872.

Cézanne studied from c. 1849 to 1852 at the Ecole Saint-Joseph and from 1852 to 1858 at the Collège Bourbon, both in Aix-en-Provence. At the latter, in about 1852, he met Emile Zola, who was to become his closest friend. In 1857 he enrolled at the Ecole Municipale de Dessin in Aix-en-Provence, where he studied under Joseph Gibert (1806–1884). In 1859, following his father’s wishes, he began to study law at the Université d’Aix. The same year his father bought the estate Le Jas de Bouffan, near Aix, where Cézanne set up a studio and worked frequently throughout his life. He also attended the Ecole Municipale de Dessin again for the academic years 1858–1859, 1859–1860, and 1860–1861. In 1861 he abandoned his law studies and, wishing to become a painter, he moved to Paris in April of that year. There he met up with Zola and worked at the Académie Suisse, where he became acquainted with Camille Pissarro. He considered this first stay unsuccessful, however, and, having repeatedly thought of leaving, in September he went back to Aix and enrolled at the local drawing school. He returned to Paris in November 1862, where he again attended the Académie Suisse. While in Paris he copied works by Titian, Giorgione, Veronese, Rubens, Delacroix, Courbet, and others at the Louvre but failed the entrance examination for the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. In 1863 he likely visited the Salon des Refusés where Manet, Legros, Jongkind, and others were exhibiting, and during their first meeting, in 1866, Manet praised his still lifes. Cézanne submitted works for the Salon every year at this time but was refused on each occasion. Extremely disappointed, he moved continually between Aix and Paris from 1864 to 1870. In 1869 he met a young model, Hortense Fiquet, then 19 years old, who became his mistress, and in 1870, when war was declared with Prussia, he took refuge with her in L’Estaque, near Marseille, where his mother owned a house. He returned to Paris in the autumn of 1871, after the fall of the Commune.

For the early period the problem of establishing the chronology of Cézanne’s work is compounded by the fact that some pieces were destroyed by Cézanne himself, or by his father, which makes an exact analysis difficult. Of the remaining paintings, with the exception of portraits and still lifes, many are expressively executed in dark colors and inspired by violent, dramatic themes of murder and sexual aggression. They are full of exuberance and intensity, and the style is impetuous, the rhythm lively, and the paint thick. At this time Cézanne was attempting to forge a personal technique, and the works are therefore quite varied in style. The imaginary paintings reflect his studies of the Old Masters and in particular of Delacroix, whom he greatly admired. There are a few surviving copies of works from this period, the most faithful being after paintings by Delacroix (e.g. Barque of Dantec. 1864–1870; New York, NY, priv. col., see Gowing 1988–1989, 79).

One of Cézanne’s most remarkable early paintings is The Abduction (1867; Cambridge, King’s Coll., on loan to Cambridge, Fitzwilliam), which he gave to Zola. Set against a carefully painted, dark-green background, the two large naked figures that dominate the scene create a striking image of force and dynamism. The Black Scipio (c. 1867; São Paulo, Mus. A. Mod.) depicts a model from the Académie Suisse, whom Cézanne must have painted in his own studio. Painted in long, sinuous brushstrokes, the work belonged to Monet, who called it a “fragment of raw power.” The violence of many of the early works is particularly evident in The Murder (c. 1870; Liverpool, Walker A.G.), in which the turbulent technique enhances the impact of the subject. A Modern Olympia (or The Pasha, c. 1869–1870; priv. col., see Gowing 1988–1989, 151) was painted in reference to Manet’s celebrated picture Olympia (1863; Paris, Mus. Orsay), which had caused a scandal at the Salon of 1865. In his version, Cézanne used strong, striking colors and a composition in which the various planes overlap to create a swirling and unstable movement, full of impetuosity and intensity. In homage to Manet and in reference to Spanish art, he employed a palette of blacks that accentuates the stridency of the coloration. The acknowledgment is somewhat equivocal, however: the title suggests that the work is a modernization of Manet’s original. Both Cézanne and Zola believed that art should be marked by the temperament of the artist, and so, in addition to his more expressive style, Cézanne likely painted himself in the foreground of the picture, gazing at the female figures. Thus, in contrast to the more reticent approach of Manet, Cézanne imposed his personality directly on the work both through style and content. This attitude is again apparent in Young Girl at the Piano: Overture to Tannhäuser (c. 1869–1870; St. Petersburg, Hermitage), in which the reference to Richard Wagner’s music prompts associations with powerful, abundant emotion and thus implicitly with the artistic personality. Also in this work Cézanne included the circle and arabesque forms that he developed more fully in later paintings.

Paul Cézanne: Man with a Cloth Cap (or Dominique Aubert, the Artist’s Uncle), oil on canvas, 31 3/8 x 25 1/4 in. (79.7 x 64.1 cm), 1866 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Wolfe Fund, 1951; acquired from The Museum of Modern Art, Lillie P. Bliss Collection, Accession ID: 53.140.1); photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110000303

Cézanne painted several portraits in this early period, mostly of family members and the close friends in his circle: fellow artists, but also poets, journalists, and natural scientists with whom he corresponded frequently. In contrast to the passion and violence of his imaginative works these have a notable sobriety and detachment. Nevertheless, the colors are often vivid and the paint thickly impastoed with a palette knife. One of his favorite models was his mother’s brother, Uncle Dominique, of whom he made several portraits (e.g. Man with a Cloth Cap (Uncle Dominique), c. 1866; New York, Met.), and he also painted his father (e.g. Louis-Auguste Cézanne Reading “L’Evénement” (1866; Washington, DC, N.G.A.). One of the most moving portraits is that of his short painter friend Achille Emperaire (c. 1868–1870; Paris, Mus. Orsay), which was refused by the Salon of 1870. Painted life-size and in strongly contrasting colors, it shows the artist seated in an armchair with his fragile legs resting on a low stool. Throughout his life Cézanne also produced self-portraits: an early example (1862–1864; New York, NY, priv. col., see Gowing 1988–1989, 73) is imbued with the same passion evident in the other works of this period. Executed in a dark palette highlighted with flecks of red, the artist looks out at the viewer with an intense, penetrating gaze in a self-portrait typical of Romanticism.

Paul Cézanne: Achille Emperaire, oil on canvas, 2.00 × 1.20 m, c. 1868–70 (Paris, Musée Orsay); Photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY

Though they constitute the greater part of his subsequent work, Cézanne produced few landscapes in this early period. The most important is The Cutting (c. 1869–1870; Munich, Neue Pin.), which already reveals his dislike for deep, one-point perspective. The undulating landscape elements are repeated in layers in the composition, while the imposing bulk of Mont Sainte-Victoire, which dominates Aix and was later a favorite subject of Cézanne, is painted as clearly and solidly as the features in the foreground. The landscape rises up towards the top corners of the picture, so introducing a strong equilibrium into the work in a format that he repeated in the following few years. He began to study nature in earnest only during his trip to L’Estaque in 1870–1871. It is often maintained that Cézanne “hid” from possible conscription into the Franco-Prussian War and later from the Commune during this time, and that most of his oeuvre has a rather apolitical character, but during these years a number of patriotic references can be found in his work, including drawings for an allegory of the Republic and a tricolor added to a painting referred to as The Conversation (1870–1871; Paris, priv. col., see 2017 exh. cat., 267).

Of all his early works, it was primarily in his still lifes that Cézanne adumbrated the themes and concerns that he developed in more detail later. One of the most masterly of these is the Black Clock (c. 1867–70; Stavros Niarchos priv. col., see Gowing 1988–1989, 169). It depicts the top of a mantelpiece partly covered by a tablecloth with starched and rigid creases. On this several objects are arranged: a large shell with a glaring pink opening, a coffee cup with a black rim, a single glass vase, a vivid yellow lemon, a black clock (without hands) that belonged to Zola, and a square pottery vessel.

(ii) Impressionist period, 1872–1882.

In 1872, the year of the birth of their son Paul, Cézanne went to live at Pontoise with Hortense. (He hid the existence of his family from his father, who discovered the situation only in 1878 and reduced Cézanne’s financial aid as a result.) There he worked outdoors alongside Pissarro and also met Dr. Paul Gachet, a collector and friend of the Impressionists. From late 1872 or early 1873 until 1874, together with his family, he stayed in Gachet’s house at Auvers-sur-Oise, again working with Pissarro. In 1874 he participated in the First Impressionist Exhibition at the studio of the photographer Nadar in Paris. Of all the artists showing work at the exhibition, Cézanne received particular criticism in the press, and some painters, fearing this, had wished to have him excluded from the show. After the Romantic and Baroque style of his early period, from 1872 Cézanne turned to a more Impressionist aesthetic while working with Pissarro at Pontoise and while at Auvers-sur-Oise. This interest in nature and the move away from the turbulent early style are expressed in the calm Self-portrait (1872; Paris, Mus. Orsay), which includes a landscape in the background. During his time with Pissarro, Cézanne painted the House of the Hanged Man (1873; Paris, Mus. Orsay), which was exhibited at the First Impressionist Exhibition. The structure and density of the forms are the essential qualities of this painting, in which Cézanne shows himself very close to the works of the older artist. The subject, the composition, and the clear color testify to the proximity of conception and execution between the works of Cézanne and his Impressionist friends. He worked outdoors and made studies of his subjects, marking a distinct difference from the methods used in his early works. Cézanne also exhibited a second version of the Modern Olympia (1873–1874; Paris, Mus. Orsay) at the First Impressionist Exhibition. This was executed in much looser, more fluid brushstrokes than the earlier version and thus reflects his new style, though it also reveals his continued interest in imaginative subjects.

Paul Cézanne: House of the Hanged Man, oil on canvas, 550 × 660 mm, 1873 (Paris, Musée Orsay); photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY

Cézanne was working in Aix at the time of the Second Impressionist Exhibition in 1876 and so did not take part in it, but for the third, in 1877, he submitted sixteen works. While there had been a slight softening in the attitudes of some critics towards the work of other participants, Cézanne was again singled out for ridicule, and his portrait of the collector Victor Chocquet (1876–1877; priv. col., see Rewald 1936, Eng. trans. 1986, 117) was particularly attacked. He was deeply hurt by this reaction and resolved to take no part in further group shows with his Impressionist friends. Given the repeated failure of his works to be accepted at the Salon, this decision closed off the only form of access to the public available to him at that time. While the Impressionists devoted themselves primarily to plein-air painting, during the period of his flirtation with Impressionism Cézanne continued to paint some imaginary subjects and such still lifes as Overturned Fruit Basket (1873–1877; Glasgow A.G. & Mus.). In particular he produced a number of flower paintings (e.g. Green Vase, 1873–1877; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.), and this sustained interest in studio painting reflects his cautious approach to the Impressionist aesthetic. This hesitation is furthermore evidenced by the fact that Cézanne chose to adopt Pissarro’s form of Impressionism, which was not as light and spontaneous as, for example, that of Monet: Pissarro built up his works by the careful application of brushstrokes. Nevertheless, his influence on Cézanne lent a greater immediacy to the younger painter’s style, as well as encouraging him to work outside.

Paul Cézanne: Bathers, oil on canvas, 15 x 18 1/8 in. (38.1 x 46 cm), 1874–75 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bequest of Joan Whitney Payson, 1975, Accession ID: 1976.201.12); photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110000300

In the mid-1870s Cézanne produced his first works on the theme of bathers, a subject that interested him increasingly thereafter (see fig.). He depicted groups, placed in landscape settings, of female bathers (e.g. Three Women Bathers, 1875–1877) and of male bathers (e.g. Bathers at Rest, 1875–1876; both Philadelphia, PA, Barnes Found.), the latter recalling his boyhood days spent bathing with Zola and their friend Baptistin Baille. Probably on account of the difficulty and cost of using models in provincial Aix, Cézanne constantly reused figures in these works (as he also did in his later works on the theme). Thus the female figure on the far left in Three Women Bathers (1879–1882; Paris, Petit Pal.) is the same as that in Five Women Bathers (1879–1882; Philadelphia, PA, Barnes Found.). In 1878 Cézanne went to live with Hortense and their son in L’Estaque, where he worked again in 1879. Also in 1878, Zola bought a house at Médan, on the Seine near Paris, and from 1879 to 1882 Cézanne made annual visits there. In Paris in 1880 he met Gauguin (V. Merlhès, ed.: Correspondance de Paul Gauguin, Paris, 1984, 350–351), and from May to October 1881 he worked in Pontoise with Pissarro. In 1882 Cézanne stayed at L’Estaque, where Renoir visited him, and in October 1882 he returned to work in Aix at Le Jas de Bouffan. Between c. 1878 and 1882 Cézanne moved away from the style of other Impressionist painters in search of greater structure, as shown in Bridge at Maincy (1879; Paris, Mus. Orsay), where flat areas of color in large, geometric brushstrokes cover the surface of the canvas. Water is used for its density rather than the reflective, shimmering surface that so appealed to the Impressionists. Zola’s House at Médan (c. 1880; Glasgow, Burrell Col.) is also executed in careful, parallel brushstrokes, examples of the so-called constructive stroke.

(iii) Period of synthesis, 1883–c. 1895.

Paul Cézanne: The Gulf of Marseilles Seen from L’Estaque, oil on canvas, 28 3/4 x 39 1/2 in. (73 x 100.3 cm), c. 1885 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929, Accession ID: 29.100.67); photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110000305

During this period Cézanne placed the accent more on mass and structure, and his composition consequently became more architectural. This continued move away from Impressionism was motivated by his belief that the painter must interpret as well as record the scene before him, resulting in paintings that rest at the intersection of observation from nature and emphasis on independent pictorial means. The role of the brain was as important as that of the eye and the two must work in harmony, an attitude implicit in his comment on Monet: “He is nothing but an eye, yet what an eye!” From 1883 to 1885 Cézanne executed the core of his work at Aix and at L’Estaque, where he was visited by Renoir and Monet in December 1883. The intense light of L’Estaque sharply outlines forms, and Cézanne spent months painting different views of the landscape there. He simplified and synthesized the scenes in compositions built up of verticals, horizontals, and diagonals, as in Rocks at L’Estaque (1883–1885; São Paulo, Mus. A. Mod.). These works attest to the profound modification that he brought to his conception of landscape, in which he broke with the traditional conception of successive planes defining depth of field. He emphasized the foreground by using asymmetrically framed views. His brushstrokes became broader and thicker, and sometimes the use of a palette knife can be seen. L’Estaque also inspired most of Cézanne’s landscapes representing the sea, such as Gulf of Marseille Seen from L’Estaque (1883–1885; New York, Met.). Little life animates these views, and the sea, which is almost always enclosed by the land and hills, is treated rather like a mirror, an immobile—as if vitrified—surface. Cézanne painted Mont Sainte-Victoire most concentratedly from the mid-1880s up to his death. He produced many variants, including about thirty paintings and many watercolors, in which rhythm, form, and color are indissolubly unified. The most detailed and precise works were those done around 1884–1888, such as Mont Sainte-Victoire (1885–1887; London, U. London, Courtauld Inst. Gals), while other, more visionary versions followed until his last years. Presenting a clear geometric form, Cézanne studied the mountain for the structure of its various planes, which are cleanly delimited in broad facets of a rigorous equilibrium. His sustained interest in the mountain and other aspects of the local geography, as well as frequent other references to the traditions of Aix and its environs, testify to the fact that Cézanne’s art participates in the broader preservation efforts of Provençal history, culture, and life that saw their first heyday during the second half of the 19th century.

Paul Cézanne: Rocks in the Forest, oil on canvas, 28 7/8 x 36 3/8 in. (73.3 x 92.4 cm), 1890s (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, H. O. Havemeyer Collection, Bequest of Mrs. H. O. Havemeyer, 1929, Accession ID: 29.100.194); photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110000313

In March 1886 Cézanne fell out with Zola following the publication of the latter’s novel L’Oeuvre in Paris: Cézanne thought he recognized himself in the principal figure Claude Lantier, a failed artist who commits suicide. Cézanne never saw Zola again. In April 1886 he married Hortense with the consent of his father, who died on October 23, leaving Cézanne a large inheritance, and from 1886 until his death he divided his time mainly between Paris and Aix. In 1888 he worked for a time in Chantilly and in 1889 exhibited with Les XX in Brussels, writing to its organizer, Octave Maus, that: “I had made up my mind to work in silence … until the time when I would feel able to back up theoretically the fruits of my research” (Correspondance, 227). At this time Cézanne seems to have emerged from his isolation and solitude. In 1890 he spent five months in Switzerland with his family, his only period abroad. He worked in the forest of Fontainebleau at various times in the following few years, and it was probably there that he painted Rocks in the Forest (c. 1894; New York, Met.). In 1894 he visited Monet at Giverny, where he met Auguste Rodin, the journalist and politician Georges Clemenceau, and the writer Gustave Geffroy, and in 1895 he painted views of the Bibémus Quarry, near Aix, and of Mont Sainte-Victoire.

Paul Cézanne: Still life with Bowl of Fruit, oil on canvas, 1893–4 (private collection); photo credit: Erich Lessing/Art Resource, NY

Throughout this synthetic period Cézanne painted numerous still lifes that reflect his constructive concerns at this time (see fig.). In Still Life (1883–1887; Cambridge, MA, Fogg) he used a dark background, as he had in earlier works, and, as in many still lifes, he also included a tablecloth to provide tonal contrast and to add structure through the creases and folds. Such later works of this period as Still Life with Basket of Apples (1890–1894; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.) are executed in brighter, more luminous colors. The light blue background tends to flatten the picture space, an aspect further emphasized by the raising of the composition towards the viewer.

Paul Cézanne: Madame Cézanne (Hortense Fiquet, 1850–1922) in a Red Dress, oil on canvas, 45 7/8 x 35 1/4 in. ( 116.5 x 89.5 cm), ca. 1890 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson Jr. Purchase Fund, 1962, Accession ID: 62.45); photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110000309

Hortense was a frequent subject of Cézanne’s portrait works. In Mme Cézanne in a Yellow Chair (1890; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.) she is depicted as calm and fashionably dressed in a typical image of a bourgeois woman (see fig.). Among numerous other interior scenes from this period is the Boy with a Red Vest (c. 1895; Zurich, Stift. Samml. Bührle), in which all the volumes are created through the articulation of planes, the various facets being used to underpin the structure. The right arm of the young boy is deliberately elongated and deformed, so enhancing the sense of the sitter’s relaxation and emphasizing the compositional lines: the curve of the back, the bent left arm, the diagonals of the curtain and table, and the horizontal of the wall paneling.

Cézanne had not entirely given up his interest in imaginary subjects and in the late 1880s he produced a number of paintings of Harlequin (version, c. 1888–1890; Washington, DC, N.G.A.). He also painted several more images of bathers (e.g. Five Women Bathers, 1885–1887; Zurich, Kstmus.) in which the figures became more simplified, statuesque, and integrated with the landscape. From whatever period, in all his treatments of this subject the trees and the sky form the main part of the setting, while the water remains a scarcely visible element. Among the most important works of the period of synthesis is the series of paintings of Card Players. According to the daughter of one of the models, these were begun in 1890, the year usually accepted as the starting date. The most important versions are those held at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, PA, the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Courtauld Institute Galleries in London, and the Musée Orsay in Paris. These differ in the framing, in the number of figures and in the coloring, and various theories have been proposed regarding the respective datings. The most probable progression places the brighter, multi-figure works (Philadelphia, PA, Barnes Found., and New York, Met.; see fig.) earlier than the dark, two-figure works (London, U. London, Courtauld Inst. Gals; Qatar, priv. col.; and Paris, Mus. Orsay; see fig.). The most famous, the Orsay version, is perhaps the last and thus datable in 1894–1895 in keeping with the subsequent development of Cézanne’s work (Reff 1977–1978, 17). In this final painting a great tension is generated by the forms and poses of the figures, who face one another against a dark field in an enclosed space, creating a deeply mysterious image.

Paul Cézanne: Card Players, oil on canvas, 1890–95 (Paris, Musée Orsay); Photo credit: Réunion des Musées Nationaux/ Art Resource, NY

(iv) Late period, c. 1895–1906.

In November 1895 Cézanne had his first solo show, of about 150 works, at Ambroise Vollard’s gallery in Paris. Two years later, in 1897, Vollard bought everything in Cézanne’s studio near Corbeil. In 1898 Cézanne worked near Aix at the Château Noir, and in 1899 he sold Le Jas de Bouffan and settled into a flat in Aix, while his wife and son remained in Paris. In 1901 he bought land at Les Lauves, on a hill dominating Aix, where he built a studio, which he settled into the following year. Having spent most of the time since his Impressionist period away from the public, in these last years Cézanne exhibited widely, and his reputation grew. In 1899 Paul Durand-Ruel bought many of his works at the Victor Chocquet sale (July 1–4, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris) and in 1890 the same dealer sent twelve pictures to Berlin, where Paul Cassirer organized Cézanne’s first solo show in Germany, though the pictures remained unsold. In 1899, 1901, and 1902 Cézanne exhibited at the Salon des Indépendants; in 1901 and 1904 he showed works with La Libre Esthétique in Brussels; in 1903 seven of his pictures were shown by the Secession in Vienna; and in 1904, 1905, and 1906 he exhibited at the Salon d’Automne, where in 1904 a whole room was devoted to his paintings.

Cézanne’s lyrical works from this late period are characterized by more vibrant colors and a greater articulation of volumes into facets. In his landscapes Cézanne emphasized the rough appearance of sites, mixing wild vegetation with rocks in unusual, asymmetric framings. His composition became less serene and his color more vivid. In the foreground he often incorporated red-orange rocks, inspired by those of the Bibémus Quarry and the estate of Château Noir. At these locations he scrupulously studied the overlapping of trees and rocks that sprang from the earth, demonstrating a deep familiarity with the local geology, as shown in Bibémus Quarry (c. 1895; Essen, Mus. Flkwang), where the huge blocks of red rock create lines of tumbling diagonals, giving the work a sense of instability. The works of the same scenes from the early 1900s have an even greater turbulence created through the fragmented manner of execution as well as the composition, as in Château Noir (1900–1904; Washington, DC, N.G.A.). Even in the last years of his life Cézanne pursued his quest after nature untiringly, and in a letter of 29 January 1904 to Louis Aurenche he wrote of “a long day spent grappling with the difficulties of expressing nature” (Correspondance, 294).

Paul Cézanne: Mont Sainte-Victoire, oil on canvas, 22 1/2 x 38 1/4 in. (57.2 x 97.2 cm), ca. 1902–6 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1994, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002, Accession ID:1994.420); photo © The Metropolitan Museum of Art http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110000311

The most extraordinary landscapes of the late period are the series of paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire that Cézanne produced from 1900 until his death (see fig.). Composed of discrete patches of color, the landscape becomes more illegible beneath the intricate surface pattern of brushstrokes, showing a tendency towards abstraction, as in Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen From Les Lauves (1904–1906; Basle, Kstmus.). Many contain areas of intense blue, especially in the depiction of the sky (e.g. Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1902–1906; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.). His analytical approach, coupled with his treatment of unpopulated natural scenes, distances the works from human activity. One of Cézanne’s most famous statements, in a letter to Emile Bernard of April 15, 1904, describes this analytical method (Correspondance, 296):

Deal with nature as cylinders, spheres and cones, all placed in perspective so that each aspect of an object or a plane goes towards a central point. … Now, for us men, nature consists more of depth than of surface, whence the need to introduce into our vibrations of light, represented by reds and yellows, a sufficient amount of shades of blue to make the air felt.

Cézanne did not aim at a traditional representation of nature; he rather sought, above all, to express the idea of the internal construction of that which he had before him, to capture the unchanging element beneath the surface: “Nature is always the same, but of that aspect which appears to us, nothing lasts. Our art must give to it the frisson of its duration with the elements, the semblance of all these changes.” Though speaking of a different motif, his ability to work at the same subject in so many works is explained in a letter he wrote to his son Paul on 8 September 1906 (Correspondance, 322):

Here, on the river bank, there are so many motifs, the same subject seen from another angle offers a subject of the most compelling interest and so varied that I believe I could work away for months without changing position, but by just leaning a little to the right and then a little to the left.

In several of the late works of Mont Sainte-Victoire, as well as in many other works of the period, Cézanne left parts of the canvas bare. Some of these paintings, such as Mont Sainte-Victoire (1904–1906; Zurich, Ksthaus) and Cabanon de Jourdan (1906; Rome, G.N.A. Mod.), are executed with extremely diluted oils. Undoubtedly Cézanne’s investigations in the domain of watercolor (see §2 below) influenced this oil painting technique, as Fry (1927) and then Venturi (1943) noticed, leading to the explosive liberation in the last works: greater rapidity of execution, lightness, and fluidity. Some considered these works unfinished, and Cézanne explained this aspect of his work in a letter to Bernard on 23 October 1905 (Correspondance, 313): “The sensations of color that light gives create abstractions that don’t let me cover my canvas or follow the outlines of objects when the points of contact are tenuous, delicate; thus my image or picture is incomplete.” Here Cézanne broke with the long-established tradition of highly finished and perfected paintings, at that time still the only recognized goal. He therefore presaged the later interest in the art of non-finish. In Garden at Les Lauves (1904–1906; Washington, DC, Phillips Col.) these tendencies are particularly evident: several areas of canvas are exposed and the rest covered with large, separate color marks, leading to a near dissolution of the subject. Another bold innovation of the late works is found in Cézanne’s expression of space, which is most apparent in such still lifes as Still Life with Onions (1896–1898; Paris, Mus. Orsay). He abandoned classical perspective for good: there were no longer any vanishing lines. Ignoring single-point perspective, he contrived multiple viewpoints inside the picture space. This gave each object several facets, a process later extended by the Cubists. Subjected to multiple distortions, objects lose their spatial depth but are emphasized by wide rings of dark or red-orange color. Tables covered with draperies or tablecloths, on which objects are set, lose their relief in relation to the other planes of the picture, and appear to topple forward.

Paul Cézanne: Mont Sainte-Victoire, oil on canvas, 1904–6 (Zurich, Kunsthaus); Photo credit: Scala/Art Resource, NY

Cézanne told his dealer, Vollard, that: “The result of art is the figure.” However, with Victor Chocquet, Vollard was one of the rare collectors to commission his own portrait from the artist. After over one hundred sittings Cézanne apparently abandoned the resulting work, Ambroise Vollard (1899; Paris, Petit Pal.), claiming that the only thing he was not dissatisfied with was the shirt front. His slow work rate and need for so many sittings partly explain why most of his late portraits are of anonymous figures, such as Man with a Pipe Leaning on a Table (1895–1900; Mannheim, Städt. Ksthalle), Man with Folded Arms (1895–1900; New York, Guggenheim), and the various Card Players. They also reflect the fact that Cézanne approached his sitters as if they were still lifes (he wanted Vollard to sit like an apple); his prime concern was not so much their identity as the compositional problems they presented. In his last years Cézanne also painted several portraits of Vallier (version, 1902–1906; London, Tate), his gardener at Les Lauves. Probably his last portrait is Self-portrait with a Beret (c. 1898–1900; Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.), which is composed of large, flat areas of color and has a complete lack of superfluous detail. He presents himself as serene and magisterial, seated against a plain background.

Paul Cézanne: Large Bathers, oil on canvas, 2.08 × 2.49 m, 1906 (Philadelphia, PA, Museum of Art); photo credit: The Philadelphia Museum of Art/Art Resource, NY

The culmination of Cézanne’s images of bathers was the series of Large Bathers (London, N.G.; Philadelphia, PA, Barnes Found.; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A.; see fig.). These were painted between 1894, and 1906 in overlapping periods, during which the framing, color, and background settings were altered. As with the Card Players, the chronology of the series is not clear, though it seems most probable that the version in the Barnes Foundation was started first, then that in the National Gallery in London and finally that in the Museum of Art in Philadelphia. This suggests datings of c. 1894–1906, c. 1900–1906, and c. 1906 respectively (Reff 1977–1978, 38–44; Krumrine 1989; Rishel 1995–1996, 497–505). Thus, in contrast to the Card Players series, where the number of figures was reduced, in these works the number of bathers went from eight to eleven to fourteen. The compressed arrangement of figures in the first two versions gives way to the more spacious composition of the last, in which the bathers are ordered in two pyramidal groupings, a geometry echoed by the triangular vault of trees above them. The static composition in this last version creates a serenity that is further enhanced by the predominant use of blue. As in the preceding bather works, Cézanne frequently repeated the poses of the figures in this series and likewise painted them with few individual features, even overlapping and blending some of their bodies. Contemporaneously with these large works he painted a number of smaller images of the same subject, as in Bathers (1895–1898; Aix-en-Provence, Mus. Granet), in which many of the poses resemble those in the first of the Large Bathers.

In his late works Cézanne maintained his fascination for nature and at the same time sought a means to express himself through it, as he remarked to Louis Aurenche on 24 January 1904 (Correspondance, 294): “If a strong feeling for nature—and mine is certainly intense—is the necessary basis for any artistic concept, upon which rest the grandeur and beauty of future work, a knowledge of the means of expressing our emotion is no less essential and can only be gained through long experience.” In these works “the objective sought is no longer to describe reality but to express a spiritual concept” (Rewald 1978, 198). Cézanne’s late works reveal him to be at the turning-point of two eras, of two worlds. This is especially true of the Large Bathers, which foreshadows Cubism, particularly Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon (1907; New York, MOMA).

2. Watercolors.

Cézanne first started to use watercolor seriously in the mid-1860s, producing such works as House in Provence (c. 1865–1867; priv. col.). Until the early 1870s he used heavy body color, and the bold, turbulent style of these watercolors resembled that found in the oils. During his Impressionist period the medium became secondary as it was incompatible with the style used in oils, in which thick layers of carefully applied paint were used. With the advent of his “constructive stroke” in about 1880 Cézanne realized that watercolor was unable to create the substance and volume he desired, and he therefore began to use the medium more independently. From the 1880s the composition of the watercolors was rigorously arranged according to linear rhythms, reflecting Cézanne’s wish to contrast the objectivity of his perception with the subjective vision of the Impressionists. In the watercolors of the last period (exhibited by Vollard in 1905) the works not only were independent of the oils but even significantly influenced the latter, and a double evolution took place, both in the system of composition and in the framing of motifs. The central importance of architectonic elements in his late works is shown by the House on the Water’s Edge (c. 1898; Basel, Esther Grether Family Collection), in which a harmonious equilibrium is established between the network of verticals of the trees and the diagonals of the roofs and shoreline.

In Cézanne’s early watercolors, such as the Battle of Love (1875–1876; priv. col., see Rewald 1983, fig.), the multiple, swirling Baroque pencil strokes are intimately blended with the watercolor. The texture is organized in diagonal, parallel brushstrokes in the direction of the shadows in such works as Large Tree and Undergrowth (1878–1880; New York, Met.). Cézanne subsequently evolved a more elliptical style, emphasizing certain details in a calligraphic manner, and, finally, he diversified the texture to create a greater richness. He frequently applied the watercolor directly on to the sheet without preliminary pencil strokes, sometimes in broad, amorphous splashes, sometimes in fine, parallel brushstrokes. He used additional watercolor (most often blue) to emphasize subtle and curvilinear, occasionally broken, contours. The pencil lines were often added over the watercolor, sometimes parallel to the contours of the brushstroke, thus forming a double texture that brings effects of movement and reflections into play. These interplays of texture are produced sometimes by networks of pencil lines interspersed with brushstrokes (e.g. Carafe, Bottle, Grapes, and Apples, 1906; New York, Henry and Rose Pearlman priv. col., see Rewald 1983, fig.) or sometimes by multiple superimpositions, creating a much richer impression of space than could be achieved by linear perspective, as in Pine and Rocks at Château Noir (c. 1900; Princeton U., NJ, A. Mus.). Here, the trees and rocks are indicated with blue watercolor. Additional dabs of watercolor were then applied: clear beige and rose tonalities first, and then blues and greens over the top. The lightest colors suggest zones of light, and, in the last stage, shadows were created by a patchwork of triangular forms of pencil lines.

In such watercolors as the Bridge at Gardanne (c. 1885–1886; New York, MOMA), Cézanne painted the motif so that it occupied the whole surface of the sheet, and the various elements were arranged in tiers of planes. Like the oils with patches of bare canvas, in his late watercolors Cézanne increasingly left areas of the paper blank, giving an impression of fullness, space, and luminosity. In such works as Rocks at Château Noir (c. 1895–1900; New York, MOMA) the motif is localized on the sheet, occupying only the central area and the bottom right corner. The motif seems unbalanced and devoid of spatial depth or substance as Cézanne concentrated more on the individual elements than on the illusion of space. In such other works as Trees near a Road (c. 1900; New York, Pearlman priv. col., see Rewald 1983, fig.), which has substantial areas of uncovered paper, the dabs of watercolor on top of a fine pencil sketch lend the work a light texture, suggesting the circulation of air between the foliage.

In many watercolors Cézanne seems to have been concerned with capturing the effects of reflections and movement in nature. In Pots of Flowers (c. 1883–1887; Paris, Louvre), reflections appear between the masses of leaves, while the terracotta pots and the background are enlivened by moving shadows in an almost Impressionist style. In a later watercolor of the same subject (1902–1906; untraced, see Rewald 1983, fig.) the reflections are enriched by an interplay of transparencies and vibrations resulting from his more elliptical, fragmented vision. These effects were developed until they resembled the reflections on colored glass, as in such studies of undergrowth as Trees Forming a Vault (1904–1906; New York, Pearlman Found., see Rewald 1983, fig.). In this work the composition created by the verticals of the trees constitutes a sort of weft on which triangular dabs of watercolor and then pencil strokes are superimposed. Cézanne structured some watercolors around reflections of light, as suggested in his letter to Bernard in 1905: “Draw, but remember: the play of light defines the object, light contains all” (Correspondance, 311). This sort of structure is evident in River at the Bridge of the Trois Sautets (1906; Cincinnati, OH, A. Mus.), and referring to this motif Cézanne wrote to his son Paul on 14 August 1906: “I began a watercolor like those I did in Fontainebleau; it seems more harmonious to me; the whole thing is to put in as much consonance as possible” (Correspondance, 320). The studies of skulls set on draperies express another aspect of this pursuit. In the three works of that series (e.g. Three Skulls, 1902–1906; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.) Cézanne was concerned, among other things, with how the reflections of the vivid hues of the cloth play on both the surfaces of the skulls and on the background planes, which he enlivened with light, unstable, informal splashes.

The form of Tachism found in both Cézanne’s late oils and watercolors reflects his refusal to “circumscribe outlines with black” (letter to Emile Bernard, 23 October 1905, Correspondance, 313) in the cloisonnist manner. For example, the pots and bottles in Kitchen Table: Pots and Bottles (1902–1906; Paris, Louvre) are evoked by masses of light, imprecise coloration in cylindrical forms. This work clearly contrasts with such still lifes of the years 1885–1887 as the Small Green Jug (Paris, Louvre) in which the form, the weight, and the material vividly assert themselves. In several watercolors of the last period the close alliance between form and color appears to be broken in favor of a new dissolution of forms. To this group of more informal works belongs Study of Foliage (1900–1904; New York, MOMA), composed of a few patches of watercolor over light pencil lines. The black stripes and scratchings in pencil bear no relation to the form and contours but rather correspond to the direction of the branches and shadows. The mass of leaves is depicted as if it were an unstable fabric, without fixed contours.

Cézanne’s late still lifes, executed in alternating styles, have a great diversity that creates particularly acute problems of dating. Until the years 1890–1895 the still lifes were set in well-defined spaces, generally on tables whose edges were precisely delimited and whose backgrounds were distinctly indicated. After 1895 the support and setting sometimes became less important, while the objects themselves were emphasized using vivid coloration, as in Apples, Pears, and Casserole (1900–1904; Paris, Louvre). Sometimes objects seem to be suspended in space, as in Kitchen Table: Pots and Bottles (1902–1906; Paris, Louvre), where the pots and bottles appear to float above the surface of the table, the contours of which are invisible. The color was applied in rapid, superimposed brushstrokes disregarding the preliminary sketch. In addition to the numerous still lifes of this late period, Cézanne continued his prolonged study of the motif of Mont Sainte-Victoire. Like the oils, these have slightly different framings, and the very multiplicity of the works tends to distance the subject itself. The two specific qualities of watercolor, transparency and lightness, were developed to their highest level in this series, as shown, for example, by the remarkably diaphanous Mont Sainte-Victoire (1900–1902; Paris, Louvre) executed in a range of pale colors. In the watercolors of the last period the analysis is based on a series of contrasts, oppositions, and often contradictions. A total contrast is established between the two simultaneous series of Mont Sainte-Victoire and of the gardener Vallier (e.g. Vallier in Profile, 1906; Chicago, IL, priv. col., see Rewald 1983, pl. 50). In the former the watercolor is used in very diluted, broad splashes of pale colors, while in the latter the expressively sketched figure is modeled by multiple fine, curvilinear, and calligraphic brushstrokes of pure color. Thus the two series reflect the two poles of Cézanne’s work: constructive synthesis and expressionistic intensity.

II. Working methods and technique.

Cézanne’s technique changed during the different periods of his life, and even within those periods his mode of execution varied according to the subject and the individual work. Nevertheless, though not rigidly fixed, broad changes can be discerned. In his early oils the paint is fairly thick and was laid down with rapidity. Some of the early portraits, in particular, are painted in large slabs of color in which the marks of the palette knife are evident. This gives them an extremely tactile surface texture, as in the Man with the Cotton Cap (Uncle Dominique) (c. 1866). Given the subject matter of most of the early works—imaginary scenes, portraits, and still lifes—they were painted almost entirely in the studio. Under the influence of Pissarro, Cézanne began to work directly from nature in an Impressionist style. Nevertheless, while his palette brightened, several works of this period, such as House of the Hanged Man (c. 1873), still have a heavily encrusted surface, though the paint is applied in a more ordered, careful manner. The same qualities are evident in the portrait of Victor Chocquet (1876–1877), but, as Cézanne moved into his period of synthesis, the color was applied in thin layers and the surface of the paintings became fairly smooth with little impasto. In the late period, layers of paint were often superimposed until a thick impasto of very granular paint was formed. Describing his technique, Cézanne told Maurice Denis that if he did not manage to “render his sensations at the first try; well, I hold off on the color, I hold off on it as long as I can. But when I begin, I always try to paint with a full brush like Manet, giving form with the brush” (M. Denis: Théories, 1890–1910, Paris, 4/1920, 257). However, some late works, such as Cabanon de Jourdan (1906), were painted in highly diluted oils. Others were unfinished: part of the canvas is left bare, or part of the sheet of paper is left in reserve. Such works are important as they give evidence of the underdrawing, colors, and structure that Cézanne deemed essential. They also testify to his mastery of his media and to his synthetic, simplifying vision. The presence of these untouched spaces marks an important moment in his work, and one that has deeply influenced such 20th-century artists as Braque. In some paintings the untouched canvas or blank paper remains visible on three of the four sides of the work, and Cézanne seems to have concentrated only on a small area. In other cases, where patches of canvas were left untouched, it appears that Cézanne started with a network of pencil lines before applying any paint.

From the beginning of his career Cézanne produced drawings, the earliest of which (e.g. Male Nude, 1862; Aix-en-Provence, Mus. Granet) are in a proficient but academic mold. Throughout his career, Cézanne drew in several sketchbooks, some of which survive intact while others have been disassembled. He worked on loose sheets of paper at times as well, but he did not exhibit any of his drawings during his lifetime or show them to friends and acquaintances. He continued to make pencil as well as oil sketches in later life, and though sometimes connected with finished paintings much of the work for these was done on the canvases themselves. His analytical approach to his subjects, in which he built up the image slowly, meant that his production of pictures was an extremely arduous task. For his still lifes he used artificial flowers because of the impossibility of capturing real ones before they wilted, while for his portraits he demanded numerous sittings. He found similar difficulties when dealing with landscapes and pursued a grueling routine of work, setting off on foot and often painting from almost inaccessible vantage points. The struggle he felt in realizing his works led him to abandon those he thought unsatisfactory, either temporarily or altogether. In his early period especially, he even destroyed paintings. His artistic problems derived more from the activity of painting itself than from the nature of the subject matter, and this explains his concentration on a limited range of motifs, each of which required prolonged and detailed treatment to achieve resolution.

III. Character and personality.

During his childhood in Aix with Zola and Baille, Cézanne displayed many of the character traits for which he became renowned in his maturity. He was temperamental, shy, and introspective, this last quality often resulting in bouts of depression. He was also extremely volatile, being especially angered by any opposition to his own opinions. Throughout his life he was unwilling to engage in arguments and he consequently distrusted any theorizing about art, rigidly adhering to his own views. His abrasiveness and shyness made it hard for him to forge friendships or keep those he had. In particular, he was suspicious of his artistic peers, many of whom he disliked. He felt more at ease with those younger artists, such as Emile Bernard and Charles Camoin, who befriended him in his old age and looked on him as their “master.” Outwardly Cézanne liked to appear as an unrefined peasant in both his dress and manners, often behaving roughly. (In later years this side of his character softened and, according to contemporaries, he became extremely polite.) This behavior was partly linked to his desire to shock the establishment, through both his art and his personality. However, the image of the social misfit was not merely a form of posturing. Cézanne seems to have had genuine difficulties in coping with the practicalities of everyday reality, as reflected in his frequent comment: “Life is fearful.” He had neither common sense nor business sense, and in his last years he relied increasingly on his son, Paul, to organize the more down-to-earth aspects of his life.

Though extremely proud, Cézanne had a deep lack of self-confidence and was, as a young man, unsure about pursuing a career in painting. This hesitance was aggravated by the opposition of his father, to the extent that, when he was initially prevented from moving to Paris to study, he considered giving up painting altogether. This prompted Zola to write to him in July 1860 (Correspondance, 79–80): “Is painting for you only a whim, which you happened to grab by the hair one day when you were bored? … Sometimes your letters fill me with great hope, sometimes they rob me of that and more; such as your last where you seem to me to be saying goodbye to your dreams.” This self-doubt diminished in his later years as his work progressed and his reputation grew. It was furthermore balanced by an extraordinary determination once his career was decided. Indeed, his exhausting work schedule, ruthless self-criticism, and obsessive treatment of the same motifs seem archetypal elements of a painter’s struggle to perfect his art. Nevertheless, on 21 September 1906, a month before his death, he wrote to Bernard (Correspondance, 324): “Will I ever achieve the goal I have sought so fervently and pursued so long? … I’m continuing my studies … I’m still painting from nature, and it seems to me that I make slow progress.”

IV. Critical reception and posthumous reputation.

Until the very end of his life Cézanne received little acknowledgment or encouragement for his work. His father was unsympathetic about his choice of career and hoped he would enter his bank. He received unfriendly criticism at the time of the First Impressionist Exhibition in 1874 and especially after that of 1877 (after which time he no longer participated in group exhibitions for some time). His works were constantly refused by those responsible for the official Salon in Paris. The only time he managed to get a work exhibited was when he had an unidentified painting entitled Portrait of a Man, also known as Portrait of M. L. A., shown in 1882. This was achieved by his describing himself as a pupil of his friend Antoine Guillemet, who was on the Salon jury and could therefore exhibit the work of one of his students. This prerogative was withdrawn the following year, and Cézanne was consequently refused at the Salon again in 1883. The final blow in his career was his break with Zola, which caused him much pain. As an art critic, Zola had rarely made much use of his access to the press to support Cézanne’s work, and he considered his friend’s career as a painter as a series of failures. Zola was insistently critical and even as late as 2 May 1896 published a piece (in Le Figaro) entitled “Peinture,” in which he described Cézanne as “an aborted great talent.” Despite this general hostility Cézanne’s work did find collectors. The first were Gachet in 1872, Chocquet in 1875, Vollard in 1894, and Durand-Ruel in 1899. In 1883 Gauguin bought two of Cézanne’s pictures from the paintmaker and print-seller Julien-François Tanguy, and in 1884 Paul Signac also bought a Cézanne landscape from Tanguy. Tanguy was for a long time the only one to dare to exhibit Cézanne’s works.

It was only after the exhibition organized by Vollard in 1895 that Cézanne became esteemed by such young painters as Emile Bernard, Maurice Denis, and Charles Camoin and by such writers as Joachim Gasquet and Gustave Geffroy. His reputation increased thereafter. In 1900 the critic Roger Marx succeeded in having three of Cézanne’s works exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris, and in 1904 he wrote a glowing review of Cézanne’s work at the Salon d’Automne. The latter exhibition was also greatly admired by the young Fauve painters, who were impressed by Cézanne’s thickly laid paint, passionate execution, and use of the palette knife. The posthumous exhibition at the Salon d’Automne in 1907 (with fifty-six of the artist’s works) deeply influenced many painters of the new generation. His influence extended well into the 20th century, as testified by Henry Moore, who in 1922 saw the Large Bathers (London, N.G.) when it was still in the collection of Auguste Pellerin in Paris. He retained an unforgettable memory of the work: “If you asked me to name the ten most intense moments of visual emotion in my life, that would be one of them” (“Discours de réception à l’Académie des Beaux-Arts,” Chroniques des arts 1259 (1973): 11). The late works in particular summarize a number of artistic aspirations of the 19th century and contain the seeds of both Cubism and Fauvism. Cézanne has therefore come to be seen as the great precursor of modern painting, a perception confirmed by the large exhibitions of his late works held in New York and Houston, TX, in 1977–1978 and in Paris in 1978.

Writings

  • Rewald, J., ed. Correspondance. Paris, 1937, rev. 1978; Eng. trans., New York, 1984.
  • Doran, M., ed. Conversations avec Cézanne. Paris, 1978; Eng. trans., Berkeley, 2001.
  • Kendall, R., ed. Cézanne: By Himself. London, 1988.
  • Lebensztejn, J.-C., ed. Paul Cézanne, Cinquante-trois lettres. Paris, 2011.
  • Danchev, A., ed. The Letters of Paul Cézanne. Los Angeles, 2013.

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  • Dittmann, L. Die Kunst Cézannes: Farbe, Rhythmus, Symbol. Cologne, 2005.
  • Lebensztejn, J.-C. Études cézanniennes. Paris, 2006.
  • D’Souza, A. Cézanne’s Bathers: Biography and the Erotics of Paint. University Park, PA, 2008.
  • Machotka, P. Cézanne: The Eye and the Mind. Marseille, 2008.
  • Simms, M. Cézanne’s Watercolors: Between Drawing and Painting. New Haven, 2008.
  • Sidlauskas, S. Cézanne’s Other: The Portraits of Hortense. Berkeley, 2009.
  • Coutagne, D. Cézanne abstraction faite. Paris, 2011.
  • Danchev, A. Cézanne: A Life. London, 2012.
  • Dombrowski, A. Cézanne, Murder, and Modern Life. Berkeley, 2013.
  • Lloyd, C. Paul Cézanne: Drawings and Watercolors. Los Angeles, 2015.
  • Armstrong, C. Cézanne’s Gravity. New Haven, 2018.
Exhibition catalogues
  • Rewald, J. Homage to Paul Cézanne. London, Wildenstein’s, 1939. Exhibition catalog.
  • Schapiro, M. and Reff, T. Cézanne Watercolors. New York, Knoedler’s, 1963. Exhibition catalog.
  • Gowing, L. and Ratcliffe, R. Watercolor and Pencil Drawings by Cézanne. Newcastle upon Tyne, Laing A.G.; London, Hayward Gal.; 1973. Exhibition catalog.
  • Hoog, M., Rufenacht, S., and Monnier, M. Cézanne dans les musées nationaux. Paris, Mus. Orangerie, 1974. Exhibition catalog.
  • Reff, T. and others. Cézanne: The Late Work. New York, MOMA; Houston, TX, Mus. F.A.; 1977–1978. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne in Philadelphia Collections. Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A., 1983. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne. Tokyo, Isetan Mus. A.; Kobe, Hyōgo Prefect. Mus. Mod. A.; Nagoya, Aichi Cult. Cent.; 1986. Exhibition catalog.
  • Gowing, L. Cézanne: The Early Years. London, RA; Paris, Mus. Orsay; Washington, DC, N.G.A.; 1988–1989. Exhibition catalog.
  • Krumrine, M. L. Paul Cézanne: The Bathers. Basle, Kstmus., 1989. Exhibition catalog.
  • Sainte-Victoire: Cézanne. Aix-en-Provence, Mus. Granet, 1990. Exhibition catalog.
  • Verdi, R. Cézanne and Poussin: The Classical Vision of Landscape. Edinburgh, N.G., 1990. Exhibition catalog.
  • Adriani, G. Cézanne Gemälde. Tübingen, Ksthalle, 1993. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cachin, F. and others. Cézanne. Paris, Grand Palais; London, Tate; Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A., 1995–1996. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne. Kasama, Kasama Nichidō Museum of Art, 1997. Exhibition catalog.
  • Classic Cézanne. Sydney, A.G. NSW, 1998–1999. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne and Japan. Yokohama, Mus. A., 1999. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne: Vollendet, unvollendet. Vienna, Kunstforum; Zurich, Ksthaus, 2000. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne und die Moderne. Riehen, Fondation Beyeler, 2000. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne: Il padre dei moderni. Rome, Complesso dei Vittoriano, 2002. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne: Aufbruch in die Moderne. Essen, Mus. Flkwang, 2004–2005. Exhibition catalog.
  • Armstrong, C. Cézanne in the Studio: Still-Life in Watercolors. Los Angeles, CA, Getty Mus., 2004–2005. Exhibition catalog.
  • Pissarro, Joachim. Pioneering Modern Painting: Cézanne and Pissarro, 1865–1885. New York, MOMA; Los Angeles, CA, Co. Mus. A.; Paris, Mus. Orsay, 2005–2006. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne in Britain. London, N.G., 2006–2007. Exhibition catalog.
  • Conisbee, P. and Coutagne, D. Cézanne in Provence. Washington, DC, N.G.A.; Aix-en-Provence, Mus. Granet, 2006. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne, Four Attractions: Figure, Still Life, Landscape, Bather. Tokyo, Bridgestone A. Mus., 2007. Exhibition catalog.
  • The Courtauld Cézannes. London, U. London, Courtauld Inst. Gals, 2008. Exhibition catalog.
  • Rishel, J. Cézanne and Beyond. Philadelphia, PA, Mus. A., 2009. Exhibition catalog.
  • Ireson, N. and Wright, B. Cézanne’s Card Players. London, U. London, Courtauld Inst. Gals; New York, Met., 2010–2011. Exhibition catalog.
  • Coutagne, D. Cézanne à Paris. Paris, Mus. Luxembourg, 2011–2012. Exhibition catalog.
  • Gesko, J. Cézanne and the Past: Tradition and Creativity. Budapest, Mus. F. A., 2012–2013. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne: Site, Non-Site. Madrid, Mus. Thyssen-Bornemisza, 2014. Exhibition catalog.
  • Armory, D. Madame Cézanne. New York, Met., 2014. Exhibition catalog.
  • Leca, B. The World is An Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cézanne. Philadelphia, PA, Barnes Found.; Hamilton, Ont, A.G., 2014–2015. Exhibition catalog.
  • Cézanne: Pioneer of Modern Art. Kanagawa, Pola Museum of Art, 2015. Exhibition catalog.
  • Eiling, A. Cézanne Metamorphoses. Karlsruhe, Staatl. Ksthalle, 2017–2018. Exhibition catalog.
  • Elderfield, J. Cézanne Portraits. Paris, Mus. Orsay; London, N. P. G.; Washington, DC, N.G.A., 2017–2018. Exhibition catalog.
  • Haldemann, A. The Hidden Cézanne: From Sketchbook to Canvas. Basle, Kstmus., 2017. Exhibition catalog.
  • Marchesseau, D. Paul Cézanne: Le Chant de la terre. Martigny, Fond. Pierre Gianadda, 2017. Exhibition catalog.
Specialist studies
  • Merleau-Ponty, M. Sens et non-sens. Paris, 1948.
  • Greenberg, C. “Cézanne and the Unity of Modern Art.” Partisan Review (May–June 1951): 323–330.
  • Gowing, L. “Notes on the Development of Cézanne.” Burlington Magazine 98 (1956): 185–192.
  • Rewald, J. Cézanne, Geffroy et Gasquet. Paris, 1959.
  • Reff, T. “Cézanne’s Bather with Outstretched Arms.” Gazette des beaux-arts (1962): 173–190.
  • Reff, T. “Cézanne’s Constructive Stroke.” Art Quarterly 25, no. 3 (Fall 1962): 214–227.
  • Andersen, W. V. “Watercolor in Cézanne’s Artistic Process.” Art International 8 (1963): 23–27.
  • Sutton, D. “The Paradoxes of Cézanne.” Apollo 100 (1974): 98–107.
  • Schapiro, M. “The Apples of Cézanne: An Essay on the Meaning of Still-Life.” In Modern Art: 19th & 20th Centuries: Selected Papers, 1–38. New York, 1978.
  • Shiff, R. “Seeing Cézanne.” Critical Inquiry 4 (Summer 1978): 769–808.
  • Reff, T. “The Pictures within Cézanne’s Pictures.” Arts Magazine 52 (1979): 90–104.
  • Reff, T. “The Severed Head and the Skull.” Arts [New York] 58 (1983): 84–100.
  • Athanassoglou-Kallmyer, N. “An Artistic and Political Manifesto for Cézanne.” Art Bulletin 72, no. 3 (Sept 1990): 482–492.
  • Pollock, G. “What Can We Say About Cézanne These Days?” Oxford Art Journal 13, no. 1 (1990): 95–101.
  • Simon, R. “Cézanne and the Subject of Violence.” Art in America 79, no. 5 (May 1991): 120–135.
  • Bois, Y.-A. “Cézannne: Words and Deeds.” October 84 (Spring 1998): 31–43.
  • Garb, T. Bodies of Modernity: Figure and Flesh in Fin-de-Siècle France. London, 1998, 197–218.
  • Smith, P. “Joachim Gasquet, Virgil and Cézanne’s Landscape: ‘My Beloved Golden Age’.” Apollo 147, no. 439 (Oct 1998): 11–23.
  • Clark, T. J. Farewell to an Idea: Episodes from a History of Modernism. New Haven, 1999, 139–167.
  • Crary, J. Suspensions of Perception: Attention, Spectacle, and Modern Culture. Cambridge, MA, 1999, 281–359.
  • Clark, T. J. “Phenomenality and Materiality in Cézanne.” In Material Events: Paul de Man and the Afterlife of Theory, edited by T. Cohen, 93–113. Minneapolis, 2001.
  • Tuma, K. “Cézanne and Lucretius at the Red Rock.” Representations 78 (Spring 2002): 56–85.
  • Athanassoglou-Kallmyer, N. “Cézanne and Delacroix’s Posthumous Reputation.” Art Bulletin 87, no. 1 (Mar 2005): 111–129.
  • Clark, T. J. “At the Courtauld.” London Rev. Bks (Dec 2, 2010): 22.
  • Dombrowski, A. “Brick by Brick: Cézanne’s Abandoned House near Aix-en-Provence.” In Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Art at the Dallas Museum of Art: The Richard R. Brettell Lecture Series, edited by H. MacDonald, 84–95. New Haven, 2013.
  • Smith, P. “Cézanne’s ‘Primitive’ Perspective, or the ‘View from Everywhere’.” Art Bulletin 95, no. 1 (Mar 2013): 102–119.
  • Nagaï, T. “How Paul Cézanne Rejected the Fini Concept.” Kyoto Studies in Art History 2 (2017): 133–147.
  • Clark, T. J. “Relentless Intimacy.” London Rev. Bks (Jan 25, 2018): 13–16.
Online Resources