Paul Cezanne Paul Czanne was born in Aix-en-Provence, a small town south of France. As a young boy, Czannes passions lay in his poetry and his friends, including Emile Zola (Preble 402). Czanne is included in the time of the Post-Impressionists. Czanne wanted “to make Impressionism into something solid and enduring like the art of museums” (Preble 401). Czanne did not have a typical, (as I define as friendly), relationship with his father.
Czanne had some problems with his father. Czannes father wanted for Czanne to be a lawyer. His father had sent him to a college for lawyers but Czanne was coaxed otherwise by his friend Zola her moved to Paris (Preble 402). Czannes father had bought the Jas de Bouffan, which would be the place that Czanne did many of his works (Rewald 21). The Jas de Bouffan would be their residence for over a half a century.
In one of Czannes paintings of their residence he omits people and animals that, like in most of his paintings, would disrupt the unchanging features of the scene (Murphy 150). Czannes father was always in a struggle with his son. His father was one that could not comprehend anyone being able to be successful in anything that did not make him or her rich. One thing that his father had to be able to recognize was that his son had determination, but his father was utterly blind in seeing his sons talent (Rewald 35). When Czannes father died, Czanne spoke of him as a genius for leaving him an income of 25,000 francs (Murphy 123). Czanne married his 12-year affair Hortense Fiquet.
A few months after their marriage, Czannes father died. Hortense was not welcome at the Jas de Bouffan by Czannes mother and sister. People say that his mother and sister banned her from the house and they were in a rage of giving her too much money (Murphy 117). Czannes sister, Marie, was the one that encouraged the marriage, even though she disliked Hortense, in hope that in would lift the spirits of her brother. Hortense and Czanne did not along very well (Rewald 125).
Even after their marriage, Czanne had no thought about living the Jas or his other and sister. Czanne thought that 16,000 francs, which were her share, was all that she needed (Rewald 125). Emile Zola was Pauls best friend. Czanne and Zola were attracted by their shared interest in literary movements and artists. Zola and Czanne played an important role in each others life with Zola helping start Czannes art career and Czanne helping Zola to start thinking about pictorial art (Murphy 14). Czanne at one point thought he could write and some of his works are found in his letters to Zola: Dark, thick unwelcome mist covers me up; The sun withdraws its last handful of diamonds (Murphy 14).
Zola was a very important person on telling the history of Czanne. However, their friendship had its rocky times and its breakup by Zola. Zola can recall the complete disorder of Czannes studio (Rewald 62). Zola tells us how Czanne rarely swept the interior of his studio for fear that the dust would disrupt his works. Czanne based his work on the observation of nature and used separate strokes that were visible to make rich surfaces (Preble 400). Czanne tried counting on the connection between adjacent strokes of color to show the entirety of the form and the space decreasing.
In Czannes The Saint Victoire from Bellevue we can see how Czanne uses this technique to show space and depth from a flat plane. Czanne likes to make alterations on nature and enlarge the mountain; Czanne also makes spatiality more clear and distinct than the actual photographs of the motifs (Loran 125). Czanne seemed to be obsessed by this mountain and somewhat exaggerated the size of it in every one of his paintings (Murphy 154). In another view of this, entitled Mont Saint-Victoire, Czanne uses the tree to show height by extending it the entire length of the canvas. Czanne utilizes color contrasts to show depth playing with cool and warm color shifts (Schapiro 66).
Czanne painted this scene at least 60 times from every possible angle. Czanne had a very distinct style of painting. To move out of the style of the broken-color of the Impressionists, Czanne created the system of modulating the colors from a volume of cool to warm or light to dark. He made a series of steps (Loran 25). As the colors begin to overlap they are creating a three-dimensional image.
Czanne very seldom ever made a line around his paintings (Loran 26). Czanne would make the lines virtually disappear off the edge thus creating more volume. This would make Czannes paintings pass to the negative or the background (Loran 26). This technique can be seen in Czannes Still Life with Apples, a Bottle, and a Milk Pot (Rewald 253). In this painting we are able to see the way Czanne literally escapes the use of encompassing lines. Czanne loses the edges in this painting producing an image of it pass into the background. Let us return to the color modulation that Czanne created.
Color balance was one final aim for Czanne. Czannes light sources are moderately consistent and his shadows are a very important element to his color (Loran 28). Czanne was known to work on several canvases at one time changing from one to the other depending on the time of day or the location of the sun. One of his paintings that express this color balance is Chestnut Trees and Farmhouse at the Jas de Bouffan (Rewald 150). In this painting Czanne is also building on the volumes, which leads us to the next perspective on his work. Czanne used “lines” to create planes, but he used planes to create volume.
If every artist can agree on one thing, it is that Czanne achieved volume (Loran 27). In Czannes The Quarry Called Bibemus, the volume is accentuated. Czanne relies on warm-to-cold contrasts and overlapping forms to give the volume instead of linear and aerial perspective (Murphy 81). The color contrast between the bright green tree and the orange rock make the space perfectly clear without the use of lines (Loran 71). Czanne had problems with perspective.
In his Road to Gardanne, Czanne drastically changes the scene in order to organize space. Czanne compresses the size of the foreground and makes the road with a sharper turn. Czanne also reduces the size of the trees immensely, but increases the size of the bridge immensely (Loran 48). This same technique is also used in Mardi Gras and Harlequin. This is one of his monumental works in which he struggles with his space organization. His son, Paul, posed for the paintings as Harlequin (Murphy 108).
In this photo Czanne shows his struggle of space by adding sections to the plane. We can see a crinkle in the canvas area of the ankle and toe of Harlequin. Czanne also caused distortions in his paintings that were merely accidental. Due to the fact that Czanne would still be scheming his paintings distortion was often made (Loran 29). We can see this in his artwork entitled Women Bathers (Schapiro 117). We can see in this painting how the head of one of the women is distorted and somewhat absent from the painting.
His distortion was sometimes just considered a lack of dexterity and manual skill, which he later mastered. It is said that because Czanne had not reduced himself to simple abstract shapes there were distortions. He was still trying to capture the realistic look by smudging and smearing (Loran 95). The paintings distortion can also be explained by the fact that he did all canvases at one time which did not allow him much accuracy on the human figure. Much distortion can be seen in the painting of another Bathers (Rewald 87). In this painting, the bathers can not even be distinguished without reading the name.
In Czannes LEstaque, Czanne is showing how he unifies the foreground and background of some of his paintings (Schapiro 63). Unlike the original picture of this scene where the foreground and background are clearly separate, Czannes paintings unify hem into one, so that they merge to look continuous with one another. Czanne is losing the aerial perspective that is held highly among the Impressionists (Loran 106). Works Cited 1Loran, Erle. Czannes Composition: Analysis of His Form with Diagrams and Photographs of his Motifs.
University of California Press, 1970. 2Murphy, Richard W. The World of Czanne : 1839-1906. Time-Life Books, Inc., 1968. 3Preble, Duane, Preble, Sarah, and Frank, Patrick, Artforms: An Introduction to the Visual Arts. “Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”. Addison Wesley Longman, 1999. 4Rewald, John. Czanne: A Biography.
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1986. 5Schapiro, Meyer. Paul Czanne. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1952.
Bibliography 1Loran, Erle. Czannes Composition: Analysis of His Form with Diagrams and Photographs of his Motifs. University of California Press, 1970. 2Murphy, Richard W. The World of Czanne : 1839-1906.
Time-Life Books, Inc., 1968. 3Preble, Duane, Preble, Sarah, and Frank, Patrick, Artforms: An Introduction to the Visual Arts. “Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries”. Addison Wesley Longman, 1999. 4Rewald, John.
Czanne: A Biography. Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1986. 5Schapiro, Meyer. Paul Czanne.
Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1952.