Saturday, 5 September 2009

Extracts From Cezanne-Picasso Exhibition

These are two extracts taken from the Musee Granet's exhibition about Cezanne's influence on Picasso, showing now in Aix-En-provence. The first was written from L'estaque, a small fishing village at the time, near Marseilles, when Cezanne first discovered its charms, and was placed next to the painting of L'estaque from the same period, pictured below. I find the tenuously presentated, but hugely forceful conclusion quite remarkable. The second text, by Picasso, was placed in a room full of quite sketchy paintings of apples by him, so I instead picture here the epic still life by Cezanne that so luckily for us Londoners is in this city, hanging in the Courtauld galleries.

Cezanne, written in a letter to Pisarro 2nd July 1876 from L’estaque:

“It is like a playing cards. Red roofs on the blue sea […] There are olive trees and pines which never lose their leaves. The sun is so terrible there that it seems that the objects advance from the background in silhouette, and not only in black and white, but in blue, red, brown and violet. I might be wrong, but to me it is the opposite of volume.”

Picasso said to Francoise Gilot

“If we concern ourselves with what is solid, that is to say the object as a positive form, the surrounding space is reduced to virtually nothing. Are we more interested in what happens inside or outside a form? When we look at the apples of Cezanne, we see that he has marvellously painted the weight of the space on this circular form. The form itself is a hollow volume, on which the exterior pressure is such that it produces the appearance of an apple, even if this apple doesn’t exist really. It is the rhythmic thrust of space on this form that is important.”

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