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Paul Cézanne


Entre 1888 et 1890

Cézanne, Paul

Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône (13) (France) 1839 – Aix-en-Provence, Bouches-du-Rhône (13) (France) 1906 huile sur toile


H. 0.65 ; L. 0.815 m. – Dim. avec cadre : H. 0,847 ; L. 1,003 m. (2009)

musée d’Orsay, Paris, France

Paul Cézanne was born in Aix-en-Provence in 1839 and said: “when the color, is for its power, the form is for its plenitude”.
Cézanne, was one of the fathers of the impressionism and among the first ones to explore the way of the representation of the food of the XIXth.
Instead of reproducing the reality it gave the priority to the geometrical forms, to the space and to the color of food, decorations being often pretexts to underline the forms, the volumes and the depths.
Among the numerous still lives realized by Cézanne I chose the “Still life in the basket” or “Kitchen table” realized in the end of its life this painting represents fruits arranged in a wicker basket and utensils on a coffee table and in background of kitchen furniture.
At first sight the subject can by simplistic and miss interest, Why represent fruits, kitchen utensils, rudimentary table and kitchen furniture?

What do we see?

In fact it is about a big work of perspective and about depth which bring the spectator to follow various movements dictated by the painter:
· The foreground lets appear fruits and elements of dishes arranged on a tissue, this white linen marks a first horizontal line which leaves from left to right, in this first movement the cold colors the green of pears, warm themselves by the center of the table in orange to become hot to the left by the red and the yellow of the pear.
· The line crosses then kitchen utensils and climb towards the basket which seems to be on raised thanks to the presence of jar  placed in front of the basket (movement from right to left).
· fruits of the basket are put on a white linen which brings a new light source.
· Other movement, by observing the handle of the basket, that of the jar of ginger and finally that of the jar of coffee; these three handles form a trajectory from top to bottom in passing of the gauge in the right.

The painter must be positioned in the left of his painting to paint the jar with coffee, then he moved towards the right to represent the jar and the handle of the basket, what gives to this still life a movement.
· It will not escape the reader the presence of a bag put on a piece of furniture the strip of which hangs and invites us to discover the furniture that occupy the second plan of the picture, realized this one in a “Cubist” style by opposition to fruits painted in “impressionistic” style.
· by fixing any point of this representation, by fixing an object at random, this one becomes the center of interest of the painting(cloth), everything gets loose and gets organized around this point.
By this representation, Paul Cézanne delivers us a food historic message, because by painting these fruits, he informs us or confirms that fruits were consumed in this period of the end of the XIXth century.
Fruits put in a basket under understand that they were freshly picked, this painting( also informs us about the shape of the dishes, the rustic china painted simply.


Serge Sonneville


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