Cezanne Centenary

The Large Bathers, courtesy Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Comite Regional de Tourisme

This year marks the centenary of the death of Paul Cezanne (1839-1906). Festivities include Cezanne in Provence, an international exhibition of 117 of his greatest oil paintings and watercolors. The exhibition is currently at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, January 29-May 7, 2006, and then moves to the Musée Granet in Aix-en-Provence, June 9-September 17, 2006.

Aix is home to one of the most important Cezanne sites—Jas de Bouffan (below), which was the family estate located on the outskirts of town. Cezanne intermittently painted there over the course of four decades until 1899 when the estate was sold. The ochre-colored house framed with trees and the surrounding grounds and landscape were featured in several of his paintings.

I have always associated Cezanne with still life and landscapes. It was not until I visited the exhibition that I learned he also painted nudes.

The last painting of the exhibit, and almost the largest one, was the Large Bathers (above)Created with lushly applied brush strokes, the slightly out of focus nudes were not intrusive. Some say he had a willful disregard for human anatomy, but it’s a serene image.

The physical exhibit is gone, but you can see all the paintings I saw at the National Gallery of Art by clicking on this link–“Cezanne in Provence” lives on. Enjoy!!