Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Cezanne Drawing at MoMA

"Study of a Head and Hands" by Cezanne (photograph: Hallie Cohen)

Apples might be expected populate the "Cezanne Drawing" show at MoMA. Nature morte is one of the methods. However, as the artist's friend Joachim Gasquet commented about these still lifes,
  “objects never cease to be alive." The current exhibit is a monumental undertaking that extends from the drawings which employ the "study sheets" in which an apple could be juxtaposed with a nude and as the curators point out “light and shadow,” “absence and presence,” “superimposition,” “reversal, "flatness and dimensionality,” “the observed and imagined” are all employed--to paintings themselves. One of the theories the show puts forth is that paintings also functioned like the "study sheets" with varying counterposed subjects existing under the final composition. Many of these drawings like "Bathers" (c.1885) anticipate his famous paintings. What makes Cezanne such an ur-modernist is the ideology of estheticism. Perception is the subject. Compare Cezanne’s "Bathers" (1898-1905) with those in the famous Eakins, “The Swimming Hole,” (1884-5) which is so content heavy. The message here is the process of seeing. Cezanne conceived “the eye for the vision of nature and the brain for the logic of organized sensations.” He also remarked that “Time and contemplation gradually modify our vision and at last we reach understanding.” 

Read "Another Intentional Fallacy" by Francis Levy, HuffPost


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