Granet Museum Opens Exhibition Focusing on Subtle Links Between Picasso and Cézanne

Paul Cézanne, Fruits, serviettes et boîte à lait(vers 1880) Musée National de l'Orangerie, Paris

The Picasso Cézanne exhibition focuses on the subtle links between these two giants in art: the direct influence of the force of the “father of modern art” on the young artist arriving in France in 1900, or the mature musings of the man who liked to say I live with Cézanne? Even if it is not flagrant in his work, Cézanne was much admired by Picasso and often in his thoughts: Cézanne! He was like a father to us all.

After Cézanne in Provence (2006), the Communauté du pays d’Aix, the Musée Granet and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux are again partners in the organisation of an exhibition in Provence, at the foot of Mont Sainte Victoire. A tutelary figure that Cézanne approached step-by-step throughout his lifetime, but which Picasso embraced energetically, just fifty years ago, not by painting it, but by buying some 2,500 acres on its northern slope and living in the famous castle of Vauvenargues, in the shadow of the sacred mountain. The anecdote is well known: I have bought Cézanne’s Sainte Victoire, Picasso told his art dealer Kahnweiler in 1958. Which one? asked Kahnweiler, thinking he was talking about a painting. The original, came the facetious reply.

If the man that Picasso called “Monsieur Cézanne” emerges clearly in some period in his life, particularly during his first ten years in Paris, at other times the relationship is more diffuse, but ever present like a shadowy watermark.

More than a hundred paintings, drawings, watercolours, engravings and sculptures from international collections, divided into four sections, permit us to explore the special relationship between the two artists and at the same time evoke the richness and complexity of all the periods in the Spanish artist’s oeuvre.

Picasso looks at Cézanne
This section analyses the relationship between Cezanne’s work and that of Picasso, from his early years in Paris until the end of Cubism (1900-1917). Picasso studied Cézanne’s work, looking for technical solutions and new fields of experimentation to the extent that his production in 1908-1909 became known as “Cezannian Cubism”.

Picasso collects Cézanne
Basically, what is a painter? He is a collector who wants to build up a collection by painting himself the pictures he would like to see in other people’s houses. (Picasso to Kahnweiler). Cézanne held pride of place in Picasso’s extensive collection both for the number and the importance of his works: View of L’Estaque, Bathers, Château Noir. Picasso also “played at” being an expert, readily giving an enlightened opinion on the quality and authenticity of some of Cezanne’s works.

Shared themes, objects, forms and features
The two artists shared a taste for certain subjects: white china fruit bowls, skulls or apples and, of course, bathers of both sexes, men leaning their elbows on a table, men smoking, women sitting in armchairs, Harlequin…

Picasso approaches Cézanne
Picasso bought the forbidding castle of Vauvenargues and lived there from 1959 to 1961. This period was a specific stage in his life and painting. Set apart by his use of colour and treatment of the forms, it includes many masterpieces such as the series of portraits of Jacqueline, the Henry II buffet series or still lifes…

A moving counterpoint, the impressive castle of Vauvenargues, where Picasso lived for only a few years but now rests alongside his wife Jacqueline, will be exceptionally open to the public during the exhibition, under certain conditions.

Published in: on May 25, 2009 at 7:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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