TEat Moderne’s splendid homage to Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) begins with the artist himself: shy, cautious, prematurely bald in his thirties; He almost doesn’t want to look into his eyes his selfie. His mouth is one piece red in a black beard blurring; He wears a heavy dark era coat. Yet, all around him was an ecstasy of pink whirlpools and whirlpools, rising like clouds, or smoke, or steam fading into the purest abstraction; The 19th century painter is surrounded by a futuristic vision.
His gaze – modest, slanting – draws your eyes close to the canvas, to see how her appearance comes into being, with a mysterious sign. This is how it all goes This is a great offer (Which drops the sharp accent from her title, as well as to Cezanne, who didn’t use it in his signature.) What he painted can be summed up simply: apples and oranges, his wife and son, the gardener, the trees outside his studio in Aix, the great baked pyramid of Mont Saint Victoire across the valley, over and over again. Even the late swimmers, in the ethereal Arcadia, are in a distinct Provence region.
However, each painting is very radical, freshly conceived each time, and its perception varies by each viewer. For some people, the 1875 self-portrait is alive with questioning the uncertainty of a changing world. For poet Rainer Maria Rilke, who saw the painting in 1907, it was made “as if it were knocked from within.”
Cezanne seems very present in art and it is strange to think that this is the first comprehensive survey in nearly 30 years. Immediately, he breaks all the usual shooting rules. Here are the tablets that appear to go up or skew down, Fruit that should be flipped or rolledObjects that appear immaterial yet are enormously large.
Here are those colors that can seem redundant in their fiery brilliance – unmodified cobalt for a distant lake, pure emerald for an apple – and those unusual whites that are not white at all. in Still life with apples and peacheson loan from Washington, the grooved bowl on the table is a swirl of color in full swing, though experience tells you the body is white.
Where does this sense of movement actually come from? This show is large enough, containing more than 80 works, to offer a much broader sense of its boldness. Look deep into the plates, their energy has little to do with movement. They are drawn, in general, with short, straight strokes, such as the fine crevices or marks of a chisel in wood. They run parallel, overlap; Occasionally they spread like wings of a hummingbird.
Photo from Madame Cézanne in yellow chair The artist’s wife is shown tightly seated, her hair is heavily parted, her lips are glued together, and her figure and volume appear out of pure color. Only a slight tremor in the hands, as the strokes veer off course, betrays the impatience to be made with that sitting, if not that hard courtship, which Cézanne hid from his banker father.
Sometimes these brush marks resemble streaks, drip, or tape. Knee-deep in the bushes, in the glass facades or among the dry bell on a Provencal cliff at noon: it is as if you are seeing things through finely ribbed glass, or as if the picture is in shaking.
How curious that these straight strokes are constantly required to calculate the roundness of the world, the descent into an orange ball, or the ellipse of a wine bottle or beaker. Sometimes these shapes are circled in a thin lace-like line, often superlative, especially in luminous watercolors. When the line looks wrong, Cézanne draws it with another and another. On paper, his apple trembles.
However, running against this method of painting – slowly piecing them together, especially in the photographs of Mont Sainte-Victoire, which records that ankle-twisting limestone in a complex jigsaw in this way – is strange. Cézanne sees the world as a continuum (as opposed to all those separate signs) where wallpaper with clothes, bodies with chairs and faces, blends with the surrounding air. Just as this idea follows, the painting abruptly stops, leaving a bare patch of canvas.
How he got there, in fact Cezanne’s entire evolution, is wonderfully connected Tate Modern. Early rooms show what he took from Monet, Daumier, and Pissarro, clumsy nudes and oddly disturbing scenarios; rooms later with his brilliant watercolors, intense like sonnets. His life story, elusively spinning between Paris and Provence, is skillfully told throughout, and the photographs underscore the confusing strength of his character. His plate was brought from Aix, where he carried the last yellow and white lead tin to supply his brush.
The desire to touch the plates is strong: to pass your finger along the strokes of his brush and understand their movement, to weigh his apple in your hand, solid and sure, even to catch the aroma or taste the flavor of his glowing orange. The color turns into a fruit. Here is a watercolor where the only pointer to a lemon on a tray is Empty graceful, touched by a yellow piece; It is everything and more than you need.
To see how important it is to European art, just have a look at the paintings of Maurice Denis Greetings to Cézanne From 1900, when a crowd of assistants admired Cézanne’s resounding voice Survive with fruit platter – On loan from New York – including Vuillard, Bonnard, Odilon Redon and Denis himself. In the next room there is a portrait of the young son of Cézanne, sensitive and melancholy, which is precisely Picasso’s blue period, it is not surprising that Picasso (Pause of religion) referred to him as “the father of all.”
But there is no history lesson that can compare to what is revealed in this show, or the transfer of energy that reproduction could never convey. Here there are paintings that transmit an intense radiance of color at least comparable to anything Cézanne saw or felt in the southern sun, and imagery that was reductive and polite like the Japanese haiku. A white canvas in late winter from Mont Saint Victoire, from 1904, barely marked in its cold soft light. There is almost nothing to see, yet everything is there.
Dennis once wrote that Cézanne’s gifts were unfathomable. “I’ve never heard of any fan…give me a clear and accurate description of their fanaticism.” This seems to be consistent with the panels themselves, in their almost unhinged beauty. It’s worth remembering Dennis’ note to free yourself from the burden of interpretation at Tate Modern. No matter how far-sighted or how hard you look, Cézanne’s art will remain a mystery.