January 7, 2023

Notes on Cezanne


Cezanne at the Tate Modern:

  • In the first paragraph of the introduction in the little booklet for the exhibition, the writer suggests that the Impressionists were passive and Cezanne was active "...By approaching painting as a process and investigation where uncertainty plays an integral role...". Whereas the former was a camera, the latter was a discerning... apparatus? (aka ...human?) Or was Cezanne more of an Impressionist in that he cranked up the discernment? I think what was remarkable in his painting was that he snapped onto the quanta in the pictorial field he represented. What I mean is that his images were assembled analyzed bits. Corpuscular. This is what perhaps the Cubists saw in him, the mainspring inspiration for their work. Cezanne's bits were influenced by Pointillism, perhaps? Fatter, refracted Pointillism?
  • The "ballsy painter", a quote attributed to the artist. Cezanne thought so, so others thought so. Youthful over self confidence? Courbet's L'Origine du monde was painted in 1866, roughly contemporaneous with Cezanne's socio-political paintings. Ballsier or not?
  • Incidentally, also at the same time Cezanne was producing provocative political themes, he was adapting Classical motifs drawn from visits to museums and de-mythologizing the figuration for a secular audience.
  • Curiously, two aspects about how Cezanne derived his motifs: 1) he was too shy to hire live models, so he instead adapted (appropriation? perhaps not) the figuration found in museum collections... the impact of which was that he bluntly schematized (abstracted?) his figures and 2) he was omnivorous about where he found his figural motifs, not only from the academy (He was a fan of Delacroix so it was said) but also from commercial illustration (champagne labels, magazine illustrations, lithographic fashion plates.)
  • Without Émile Zola, where would he have landed? At age 13, they met in their hometown at Aix-en-Provence (was this the quinto pino, the sticks of France?). Thirteen! Nine years later Zola moves to Paris, he embarked on a road to stardom and during this process, invited Cezanne to join him there and meet his circle of talented friends. Boom. Off to the races.
  • Pissarro's influence, was linked to the famous Cezanne hash mark. How? I web search and find this. A snip: "It is in us that beauty exists and not outside us." I refer back to the first bullet point above: the artist-as-camera was a feeling camera. This is what Van Gogh probably took from them. Sensation was broken down to bits, sensation was not only of what was outside the iris but also the of feeling behind it.
  • Was the Cezanne oeuvre a sequential series of sublimations? For example, was his focus on Mont Saints-Victoire (works completed between 1882-1906) a sublimation of works involving the theme focused on bathers such as "The Battle of Love" (1879-80) and his "Bathers" (1875).
  • The artist's artist validation: citations of Henry Moore, Picasso, Matisse, & Jasper Johns. What were they looking at? Sensibility, I think it was. Tears, wetting the trembling, loaded brush.
  • The last line of the Cezanne Ey Exhibition Tate London booklet: Cezanne "...bridged tradition and modernity." Has this value endured to this day? That is, why is it that no one cares about bridging anymore? We are all a shambles of division nowadays.
  • The image headlining this post: a shot of Cezanne's studio. Note the cross. See the end of this post, click on related link #2.
  • Posted by Dennis at January 7, 2023 4:19 PM

    1 Comment

    Thanks Dennis, Enjoyed.
    Also the Carovillano post onThe mentality of Cézanne and Pissarro!!

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