Friday, September 19

Cezanne-A Small Book about a Great Painter

Today’s Image

Today’s image is another example of an appreciation of art that I unexpectedly discovered in the Santa Ynez Valley. It’s a beautiful bronze sculpture that was so close you could almost reach out and touch it from the sliding door of the hotel room. It is larger than life and is a scene from what appears to be a bullfight. By the way, I am not advocating the sport of bullfighting, if you can call it a sport, but I am advocating a beautiful sculpture that honors a tradition. It’s Today’s Image.

In the Art Library

I found a bargain book at a quaint old used bookstore in the tourist shopping district of Solvang, California. Solvang is an interesting town and out of the ordinary because it was founded by Danish settlers and still retains the look and feel of an old European Village in many ways.

The book is Cezanne by Andre LeClerc and published by Hyperion Miniatures-Hyperion Press and printed in Italy. I could find no date of publication, but by the looks of the design and age, I would guess sometime in the 1970s.

What I like about the book is that it has a lot of information and art in a small package—approximately 6 x 5 in/15.2 x 12.7 cm. It’s only 48 pages long, and the text takes up only the first 18 pages, which are interspersed with Cezanne’s art work. All the remaining pages are devoted entirely to his art work, both in color and black and white.

Even thought the text is relatively short, it provides a good summary of the highlights of Paul Cezanne’s life. It begins by talking about his “unceasing struggle to perfect a synthesis of color and form.” An artist’s struggle is the theme throughout the book, which it says led to the rise of Cubism, modern schools of painting, and the more abstract.

It discusses Cezanne’s long friendship with Emile Zola and his struggle to have his art accepted in the established art schools and the Salon in Paris, which didn’t happen until 1882. Here’s a short excerpt: “He painted violently, spreading dark, thick colors with a palette knife on canvases he often gashed in despair, and lived violently, heeding no one, not even Zola…” Jeez.

Cezanne was also friends with Pissarro, Guillaumin, and other Impressionists with whom he exhibited from 1874 until 1877. The book says that although he exhibited with the Impressionists, his work does not appear to have been rendered so effortlessly, but “bears all the signs of the artist’s struggle and appears as though hewn out of hard, rebellious rock.”

In later years he also painted landscapes and portraits, many of which are included in the book. It says he also changed the nature of still-life painting by painting rather ordinary objects instead of things already considered beautiful.

Here are a few of Cezanne’s paintings that are included in the book: The Card Players, The Man in the Blue Overalls, Portrait of Gustave Geffroy, Man with Red Vest, and Mont Sainte-Victoire.


No comments:

Post a Comment