Exhibition review of "Stretching the Canvas: Eight Decades of Native Painting" at the George Gustav Heye Center of the National Museum of the American Indian
Jennifer S. Musawwir 11 October 2021
min Read9 August 2021
Paul Cezanne was widely misunderstood by his contemporaries. This shy man, who was a precursor of Cubism and Fauvism, loved to paint fruit (in art history called “still lifes”). This is all we know about Cezanne’s fruit:
These Apples are among his early work. They look quite real – this will change later.
His works are both traditional and modern. Cezanne’s fruit became quite abstract with time – later they were just splotch of color enclosed by a line. Like here, they don’t have any purpose except being decorative objects.
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.” An apple or orange would be a sphere obviously.
Though a precursor of Cubism, Cezanne often created an illusion of depth – like in this painting, with the curtain at the back and the white sheets in the front.
Here we can see the beginning of a new system of representation, one that Cézanne would subsequently develop, and that would open the way to Cubism. While the fruit on the table is shown frontally, the perspective of the table is much more raked: in the same composition, the objects are painted from several different viewpoints.
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