Best Works by Paul Cézanne, Artist Recluse of Provence

Paul Cézanne, born in Aix en Provence in the early 1800s, created impressionist and post-impressionist pieces for the duration of his life as painter; most remembered are his Bathers and scenic landscape oil paintings of provincial areas of France. Cézanne explored and fixed colour and nature through a multitude of mediums, leaving behind too striking works of watercolour, pencil, and gouache closer to the end of his life.


Mont Sainte-Victoire (La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves), 1902-1906

Of note are the two extremes in which he was evaluated as a creative over a 20 year period: 

April 1874: Once described by a female art critic as a “madman in a state of delirium tremens.”

1890s: Starts receiving critical interest

December 1895: After a successful exhibition with art dealer Ambroise Vollard, Paul Cézanne gains critical recognition and success: “Passers-by walking into the Galerie Vollard, in Rue Laffitte, will be faced with about fifty pictures: figures, landscapes, fruit, flowers, from which they can finally reach a verdict on one of the finest and greatest personalities of our time! Once that has happened, and it is high time that it did happen, all that is dark and legendary about Cézanne’s life will disappear, and what remains will be a rigorous and yet attractive, masterly, and yet naive life’s work… He is a great fanatic for the truth, fiery and naive, austere and subtle. He will end up in the Louvre,” notes Gustave Geffrey, art critic.

Cézanne struggled with euphoria, depression, and feeling despair throughout his entire life. While renowned as a great artist, he spent much of his life as the reclusive type, and avoided the company of most females due to having a shyness, fear, and mistrust in women that developed from childhood. It is recorded, “I am under orders not to touch him, not even with my dress when I go past him.” – housekeeper Madame Brémond 


Cézanne to his mother: “I begin to find myself superior to those around me, and you know that the good opinion I have of myself had only been reached after mature consideration. I must always work, but not to achieve a final polish, which is for the admiration of imbeciles. And this thing which is commonly so appreciated is only the accomplishment of an artisan’s skill and makes every work resulting from it in artistic and vulgar. I must strive after completion only for the pleasure of giving added truth and learning. And believe me, there always comes a time when one arrived, and one had much more fervent and devoted admirers than those who are flattered by vain appearances.” 


Here are some of my favorite works from Paul Cézanne:

Autumn, 1860
The Sea at L’Estaque, 1878
The Card Players, 1890-92
Quarry at Bibémus, 1895
Lac d’Annecy (Lake Annecy), 1896

His perspective


Regarding his painting style: “Nothing in the individual areas of colour bears any specific relationship with the visible world of objects, and it is not possible to identify trees, fields, or houses. Only the interaction between the different elements within the painting asa whole enables us to recognize an objective reality.” – Ulrike Becks-Malorny

“Nature is not on the surface, it is in the depths. Colours are on the surface expression of this depth. They grow up from the roots of the world. They are its life, the life of ideas.” – Cezanne

“So Cézanne’s concern was far from being that of conveying the illusion of a three-dimensional world to the viewer. Rather he was creating a new reality using the two-dimensional surface of the painting. He simply sought to create an awareness of the two- dimensionality of the picture, this new “realization” of nature, and so it was important for him to avoid using traditional linear perspective, which creates the illusion of three-dimensional depth. In addition, if he had used strict linear perspective, he would have had to depict every object the size required by perspective. But what Cézanne wanted to do was to show each object the size which he saw it. Apart from rejecting linear perspective, Cézanne also steered clear of the superior perspective so beloved of the Impressionists, in which the colours and forms of objects become more vague and indistinct the farther they are from the viewer.” – Ulrike Becks-Malorny

“Light is not a thing that can be reproduced, but something that must be depicted using something else: colours.”  – Cézanne

How Paul Cézanne Viewed Color


“To Cézanne, colours are only the constituent elements of an image. Its form is determined by the way they are applied; the boundaries between colours are also the boundaries between forms. The light in his paintings has no existence in its own right; it is created by the colour.” – Ulrike Becks-Malorny


Cézanne depicts light with the brightest and strongest colors to signify its strength and brightness. So instead of a white bluish sky, he’s painting his skies with rich blue, greens, whites, etc. 

Light is not a thing that can be reproduced, but something that must be depicted using something else: colours.”  -Cézanne


Catch an exhibition running through September 26, 2021 and showing 250 of Paul Cézanne’s drawings, studies, and watercolours at the Museum of Moderrn Art.

Best Works of Josef Albers at David Zwirner’s Albers and Morandi: Never Finished Exhibit

Josef Albers is a German artist I am a great fan of, him along with his German-American partner and fellow artist, Anni Albers. Both were students and teachers at the Bauhaus, with Josef specializing in abstract painting and Anni in textiles.

I can only dream of the kind of youth they had, studying under Johannes Itten (Swiss abstractionist painter, color theorist and part of the Weimar Bauhaus), brushing shoulders with Paul Klee and Wassily Kandinsky– becoming masters of crafts.

Thoughts:

Most of the painted layers for the square paintings were layered on from center to outwards. There were some where Albers changed up his layering process for, which was very interesting– occasionally he’ll make the smallest center square as the final (top) layer.

If anyone could help me get Josef Albers’ Midnight and Noon book (it’s sold out), I would be extremely grateful.

Very interesting in person:

morning day-dream

There’s a small part of me that always wonders if I pursued the creative route.. what would life have been like?

What would life be like with a partner who is equally or more in love with art? What it’d be like for us to chase visions and beauty

together.

Harold Ancart at David Zwirner Gallery

Earlier this week, I went to see Belgian Brooklyn-based painter and sculptor Harold Ancart’s exhibit at the @davidzwirner gallery.

The gallery was exhibiting Ancart’s series of tree paintings he made during the pandemic.

The painting with a green tree and pink skies made me feel like I was looking at a tree in a Japanese animé.

This naturescape made me feel like I was looking at a tree in a Japanese animé.

This red and blue painted piece reminded me of René Magritte’s hand. My photo doesn’t capture the blue color well, but Ancart paints the sky in the Surrealist master’s trademark blue.

It was very interesting to see throughout his paintings how he would sometimes choose to layer on the sky atop the tree instead of keeping the sky behind it– adding to the surrealist element of the naturescape.

and sometimes one would find a painting with a trunk that is not even part of the tree.

Bises,

Soo

Fernando Botero: Recent Paintings

Being in your 80s and painting with such vitality and storytelling….

nothing but applause for this Columbian artist.

The Bedroom, 2018 – oil on canvas

Still Life with Bowl of Fruits, 2018 – oil on canvas

Dancers, 2017 – oil on canvas

Pierrot, 2007 – oil on canvas

Eva, 2017 – oil on canvas

Untamed: Jean-Michel Basquiat at Fondation Louis Vuitton

Dos Cabezas, 1982 – Acrylic and stick on canvas mounted on wood supports – private collection

Grillo, 1984 – Acrylic, oil, paper collage, oil stick, and nails on wood – Fondation Louis Vuitton

Florence, 1983 – Acrylic and oil stick on canvas – private collection

Untitled, around 1984-85 – acrylic and paper collage on paper glued onto honeycomb board – private collection

Hollywood Africans in Front of the Chinese Theater with Footprints of Movie Stars, 1983 – acrylic and oil stick on canvas mounted on wood supports – estate of jean-michel basquiat

Slave Auction, 1982 – Crumpled paper collage, oil stick and acrylic on canvas – Centre Pompidou, Paris

 

Untitled (BlueAirplane), 1981 – Acrylic, spray paint, and oil stick on canvas – Collection Stephanie Seymour Brant

How To Fall In Love With Art

How long has it been?

Up until college, I had grown up with an appreciation for fine art thanks to my parents, but it was never really something I had sought out on my own.

I knew enough “art” to maintain my sense of weird, self-righteous adolescent pride in being cultured and artsy. My interest was driven by nothing else really of nobler substance.

At 18, I moved to New York for college, and I enrolled in an art crit class on a whim during freshman year: the Art of Now course at New York University.

Fast forward to 2013, when I studied abroad in Shanghai. I decided to take on a heavier workload of art classes and immersed myself in contemporary and Asian art. I don’t remember much of the art I saw in detail, but this period of time would leave an indelible mark on me, and it was a catalyst for my passion.

Hu Jieming, Casual Status, 1992

I returned, enrolled in some more art classes.. a studio class in drawing.

During my time as a student, I had more time in the afternoons and between classes to do other things (doing nothing, meeting friends at cafes or for lunch in the West Village, chilling near fountains – damn life from 18-22 was so sweet) and I began exploring gallery spaces and art exhibitions everywhere! pretty intensely.

A pic I snapped years ago on another trip to Pace Gallery.

I started taking random things at home: scissors, a tableweight, a pepper from the kitchen, a rose and draw.

 

So newly inspired I was by the intricate beauty in all things that held form, line, and shape.

I was falling in love with art then.

I began to accumulate a larger inventory of the things I liked and disliked, formulate stronger opinions backed by a latticework of thoughts and experiences built thanks to the plenitude of art I’ve seen in the years which have since passed post- college.

For example, I prefer minimalism and modernism. I like French impressionism, and abstract expressionism.

For some reason, Surrealism and Dada works get me.

Man Ray, Ingre’s Violin

Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele works are so luscious and rich. Contemporary movements like pop surrealism, otherwise knowns as “Lowbrow” art are so cool.

Mark Ryden, the father of Pop-Surrealism

I don’t find a lot of photography art to be impressive, but I’m okay with that. Installations with various forms of media are sometimes a hit or miss for me. I like contemporary art, but I’m not particularly fond of Jeff Koons (active from 1977 – ) or Damien Hirst (1988 – , or Jean-Michel Basquiat (1976 – ). But I do love me my Toyin Ojih Odutola (2008 – , Osamu Yokonami, and Chad Wys (2011 – ) :

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Toyin Ojih Odutola, Above all else make it look effortless, 2012. Pen ink, marker, and varnish on paper.

Chad Wys, Sculpture with a Spectrum 2, 2014. Collage on paper.

It’s 2018 and I love art more than ever.

I move and live every week, drinking in all the things I see, from the daily visuals of life to the more curated representations of art at institutions.

And the more I do that, the more I understand this:

Art is an instrument that instructs the way we see and live our lives. Our lives, in turn, are ripe, breeding grounds for art: new expressions and new manifestos… and who’s to say that the act of life and breathing aren’t art in themselves.

They are synonymous with one another– and I cannot see the difference.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          (on my best days- taha.)

Money Shot by Judith Bernstein

 

My friend Christine and I stopped by the Paul Kasmin Gallery yesterday to check out this LOUD art show, which represents the works of Judith Bernstein, a New York based artist, mainly known for her phallic symbol infused works and her ardent devotion to feminism.

Money Shot is a visual manifesto of some very explicit political commentary (truly, a no holds barred, lacking zero subtly situation). Asides from the strong messaging, the artist used fun and creative mediums like fluorescent paint and light for this exhibit to the delight of myself and the many other art goers that walked into the gallery (Exhibit A: it was fun to see anyone with hair lighter than brown with heads literally lit, and seeing men walk in with their stiff collared shirts noticing in surprise that the collars peeking out of their sweaters were brilliantly highlighted in spacey purple light).

Do I see a Darth Vadar, a skull, and a generic demon here or is it just me?

 

The Trinity Schlong

 

While this artist clearly shows her bias for the strong left, I believe this show is worth going to and seeing– regardless of one’s political affiliation, and preferably with an open mind.

It is worth mentioning and acknowledging the creative and intellectual risks this artist has made to voice out some very controversial and sensitive opinions, and the gallery that chose to represent her with this recent installation.

I applaud you, Paul Kasmin Gallery.

This show runs until March 03, 2018. @ 293 10th Ave., NY.

Speaking Too Little, Too Much

An artist has to understand silence
An artist has to create a space for silence to enter his work
Silence is like an island in the middle of a turbulent ocean -Marina Abramović

So….. how does one get to the island?


Verbosity comes easy to me, and unfortunately, there’s no shortage of words to be found in my being.

Over the past few years, my sisters and I have increasingly recognized my need to be both succinct and precise (when I speak, when I think, when I write…when I text!), for the sake of my future livelihood.

My sisters often rightly say, “the length or loudness of one’s message does not substantiate its actual quality or substance”.

Consequently, pithiness has become that far-reaching virtue of mine to cultivate since end of 2016.

Granted, this is easier said than done, and it conjures up from me many a sigh as I attempt (with the ferocity of Hercules as he battles off the great beast!) to remediate my little big habit.

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Hercules and the Nemean Line. Painting by Pieter Paul Rubens. What’s great to know is that he overcomes. So shall I– one hopes.

So what can I do, except write a haiku?:

“My mind moves too quick

Can I really control it?

Silence, come quickly.”

I thank my mother for never telling me I should become a poet. That would have been a lie anyways. 

Echoing David Ogilvy, king of witty and considered locutions, I plead tonight for endurance, for charm, for silence.

Bises,

Soo

“There are many fine things which we cannot say if we have to shout,” Henry David Thoreau

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Illustration by Maurice Sendak