Cézanne, Paul: Landscapes
Cézanne immortalized the Provençal countryside with his broad, panoramic views. Often these are framed in branches, sometimes with architectural elements, but seldom with human activity. These too are still lifes. Cézanne's landscapes were not painted in the open air, as were those of the Impressionists, nor were they captured first with a camera. He composed the pictures the way he wanted them -- arranging the trees and the houses, probably gleaned from his sketchbooks, on the canvas in the configurations he decided upon.

Cézanne understood that a painting could not really do its subject justice. He knew that colors in nature and their combination with natural light could never be truly reproduced. He saw himself as an interpreter who had to accept the limitations of the medium and tried to transfer the images onto canvas the best way he could. He attempted to bridge the natural and artistic worlds. Hence Cézanne's works, in comparison with the paintings of many other Impressionists, only make sense as a whole, not in snippets, as the brush strokes and colors are meant to be interdependent on one another. This is especially true for pictures painted in the latter part of his career, when he used color in short strokes or in almost mosaic patches, all of equal intensity, throughout an entire painting. In his striving for perfection, this meant retouching the entire picture to recreate the all-important harmony. No wonder he scared his sitters.

He sometimes worked on the same picture for years, never satisfied with the results. He seldom signed his works, because he never considered them finished. Those he did sign had his mark of approval.

During the last decade of his life, Cézanne's paintings became more simplified, the objects in his landscapes reduced to components -- cylinders, cones and spheres. He is often seen as anticipating cubist and abstract art, because he reduced the imperfect forms of nature to these essential shapes. By the time of his death in 1906, Picasso and Braque were in the midst of exploring the most radical implications of his style. Maybe the world has finally caught up with Cézanne. Complexity is more admired now than it was 100 years ago, and since his reputation precedes him, perhaps the exhibition at the Grand Palais will make his work more accessible to the average museum-goer.

1112 x 907 133.4K
133.4K, 1112 x 907

Maisons au bord d'une route
(Houses Along a Road)
Painted: 1881
Oil on canvas
60 x 73.5 cm
The Hermitage
St. Petersburg
Painted: 1885-86
Oil on canvas
92 x 74.5 cm
The Brooklyn Museum
New York

806 x 1049 168.5K
168.5K, 806 x 1049

1176 x 739 134.0K
134.0K, 1176 x 739

Painted: 1885-86
Oil on canvas
65 x 100 cm
The Barnes Foundation, Merion
Maison et ferme du Jas de Bouffan
(House and Farm at Jas de Bouffan)
Oil on canvas
60.5 x 73.5 cm
Narodni Galerie

1035 x 827 142.6K
142.6K, 1035 x 827

837 x 625 98.2K
98.2K, 837 x 625

Houses on the Hill (River Bank)
Painted: 1900-06
Oil on canvas
60.3 x 79.2 cm
McNay Art Institute
San Antonio, TX
Le vase paillé
Ginger Jar and Fruit
Painted: 1876
Oil on canvas
46.1 x 56.3 cm
The Hermitage
St. Petersburg

1109 x 910 154.7K
154.7K, 1109 x 910

1041 x 818 166.3K
166.3K, 1041 x 818

Maison et arbres
(House and Trees) Painted: 1890-94
Oil on canvas
65.2 x 81 cm
The Barnes Foundation, Merion
Montagnes en Provence
(Mountains in Provence)
Painted: 1886-90
Oil on canvas
63.5 x 79.4 cm
National Gallery

1034 x 814 142.8K
142.8K, 1034 x 814

1035 x 810 178.1K
178.1K, 1035 x 810

Bords d'une rivière
Painted: 1904-05
Oil on canvas
65 x 81 cm
Private collection
Route tournante à La Roche-Guyon
(A Turn in the Road at La Roche-Guyon)
Painted: 1885
Oil on canvas
64.2 x 80 cm
Smith College Museum of Art

1038 x 815 124.4K
124.4K, 1038 x 815

799 x 1050 130.0K
130.0K, 799 x 1050

Morning in Provence
(Sous-Bois Provençal)
Painted: 1900-06
Oil on canvas
81 x 63 cm
Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Buffalo, NY
Well: Millstone and Cistern Under Trees
(Meule et citerne sous bois)
Painted: 1892
Oil on canvas
65 x 81 cm
The Barnes Foundation, Merion

1042 x 815 175.5K
175.5K, 1042 x 815

809 x 1041 198.7K
198.7K, 809 x 1041

Bend in Forest Road
Painted: 1902-06
Oil on canvas
81.3 x 64.8 cm
Collection Dr. Ruth Bakwin
New York
Le lac d'Annecy
(Lake Annecy)
Painted: 1896
Oil on canvas
64.2 x 79.1 cm
Courtauld Institute Galleries

1033 x 828 190.9K
190.9K, 1033 x 828

1032 x 837 172.0K
172.0K, 1032 x 837

Etude: Paysage a Auvers
(Study: Landscape at Auvers)
Painted: 1873
Oil on canvas
46.3 x 55.2 cm
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Bend in Road
Ginger Jar and Fruit
Painted: 1900-06
Oil on canvas
81.3 x 64.8 cm
Private Collection

827 x 1034 161.3K
161.3K, 827 x 1034

1033 x 815 193.4K
193.4K, 1033 x 815

Le Cabanon de Jourdan
Painted: 1906
Oil on canvas
65 x 81 cm
Collection Riccardo Jucker
Painted: 1895-1900
Watercolor and pencil on paper
44.8 x 56.8 cm
The Museum of Modern Art
New York

1034 x 802 154.1K
154.1K, 1034 x 802

1195 x 924 129.5K
129.5K, 1195 x 924

The Bay from L'Estaque
Painted: 1886
Oil on canvas
31 1/2 x 38 1/2 in
The Art Institute of Chicago
Road at Chantilly
Painted: 1888
Oil on canvas
31 7/8 x 25 5/8 in
Collection Mr. and Mrs. William A. M. Burden
New York

903 x 1193 148.8K
148.8K, 903 x 1193

920 x 1170 137.4K
137.4K, 920 x 1170

The House with Cracked Walls
Painted: 1892-94
Oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 21 1/4 in
Collection Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt
New York
The Great Pine
Painted: 1892-96
Oil on canvas
33 1/2 x 36 1/4 in
Museu de Arte, Sdo Paulo

825 x 773 125.6K
125.6K, 825 x 773

1157 x 918 163.1K
163.1K, 1157 x 918

Woods with Millstone
Painted: 1898-1900
Oil on canvas
29 x 36 1/4 in
Collection Mrs. Carroll S. Tyson
Turning Road at Montgeroult
Painted: 1899
Oil on canvas
25 1/2 x 20 1/2 in
Collection The Hon. and Mrs. John Hay Whitney
New York

813 x 1049 207.8K
207.8K, 813 x 1049