Tuesday, January 18, 2011

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Paul Cézanne

19 January 1839 – 22 October 1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th century conception of artistic endeavor to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century. Cézanne can be said to form the bridge between late 19th century Impressionism and the early 20th century's new line of artistic enquiry, Cubism. The line attributed to both Matisse and Picasso that Cézanne "is the father of us all" cannot be easily dismissed.

Cézanne's work demonstrates a mastery of design, colour, tone, composition and draftsmanship. His often repetitive, sensitive and exploratory brushstrokes are highly characteristic and clearly recognizable. He used planes of colour and small brushstrokes that build up to form complex fields, at once both a direct expression of the sensations of the observing eye and an abstraction from observed nature. The paintings convey Cézanne's intense study of his subjects, a searching gaze and a dogged struggle to deal with the complexity of human visual perception.
One of the most influential artists in the history of twentieth-century painting, Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) has inspired generations of modern artists. Generally categorized as a Post-Impressionist, his unique method of building form with color and his analytical approach to nature influenced the art of Cubists, Fauvists, and successive generations of avant-garde artists. Beginning to paint in 1860 in his birthplace of Aix-en-Provence and subsequently studying in Paris, Cézanne's early pictures of romantic and classical themes are imbued with dark colors and executed with an expressive brushwork in the tradition of Eugène Delacroix (1798–1863). Dramatic tonal contrasts and thick layers of pigment (often applied with a palette knife) exemplify the vigor in which Cézanne painted during the 1860s, especially apparent in the portrait series of his uncle Dominique Aubert, variously costumed as a lawyer, an artist, and a monk (53.140.1; 1993.400.1). This kind of costume piece is reminiscent of Édouard Manet's Spanish paintings of the 1860s.