Cézanne, Paul

Image Nature morte au vase pique-fleurs

``Still Life with Flower Holder'' (140 Kb); c. 1905; Oil on canvas, 81.3 x 100.7 cm (32 x 39 5/8 in); National Gallery of Art, Washington

A darkish-brown harmony pervades this large composition; it appears also in the Portrait of Vollard, known to have been the product of countless sittings. This overall tonality, which contributes to the extraordinary compactness of the work, is brightened by three pinkish-white spots: the pitcher, the napkin, and the scalloped bowl with holes for inserting flowers. (This vase is found in no other of Cezanne's still lifes but was a popular product of old faience factories, such as that of Moustier in the Alps, which produced, among others, white wares to be found all over Provence.) The fruit, probably peaches, are yellow-orange and red; only the closest--which originally was placed even farther forward--and the one half-hidden in the folds at left are completely red; these two could be apples.

The table is of a lighter brown than the uniform background; the drapery or tapestry is the familiar one with a brownish-blue pattern of foliage. Although there is less impasto than in other contemporary canvases, the work process was evidently a long one; in some places the first layer of pigment seems to have dried before a new coat was applied on top of it. Along the outlines of the pitcher and the curves of the fruit is a heavy crust where the paint occasionally seems to have curdled.
-- Meyer Schapiro

© 19 Sep 2002, Nicolas Pioch - Top - Up - Info
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