ISBN: 0892366230

CEZANNE IN THE STUDIO. Still Life in Watercolors

CEZANNE IN THE STUDIO. Still Life in Watercolors

Carol Armstrong

Cézanne, Paul

Paul Cezanne's role as the heroic progenitor of modernism stems largely from the achievement of his monumental paintings in oil. But another part of his oeuvre reveals an artistic personality that, while less lionized in the annals of art and its history, is more human and approachable than the Cezanne we think we know These qualities emerge in the medium of watercolor, where the brilliant white of the paper surface, the silvery line of sharpened graphite, and the translucent brilliance of liquid color seem to imbue his famously struggling temperament with a lighter sense of being. Cezanne's celebration of the kaleidoscopic interaction of the ethereal elements of color, line, and light finds pure expression in his monumental late watercolor Still Life with Blue Pot in the Getty Museum. It is a work of such brilliance that we decided to make it the focus of a book. As the project developed, however, it became clear that Cezanne's watercolor still lifes were at once so profound and glorious that they merited an exhibition. Cezanne in the Studio: Still Life in Watercolors explores the intersection of the genre of still life-and the medium of watercolor. The significance of the studio is crucial, since it was in this controlled, familiar environment that Cezanne painted his still lifes. Anyone who has visited his final studio at Les Lauves, just outside the old town of Aix-en-Provence, cannot fail to be moved by the contrast between the humble, simple surviving still-life objects and the splendid, profound watercolors that they inspired. In his studio—filled with faience, tapestries, and furniture from his beloved Provence—this spartan individual composed still lifes of unabated sensual attraction. It was at Les Lauves that Cezanne painted his late still lifes in watercolor, among the masterpieces of his oeuvre. The exhibition and accompanying publication bring together an extraordinary artist and a scholar of exceptional insight and eloquence, Carol Armstrong. I am grateful to her for writing the book and curating the exhibition, and to her friend and colleague Lee Hendrix, the Getty's curator of drawings, for inviting her to undertake the project and for overseeing it. Professor Armstrong's text leads readers through an intensive exploration of the wonders of Cezanne's dazzling watercolors. From the outset, it was acknowledged that the design of the book would play a crucial role in this process. I offer warm thanks to editor John Harris, designer Jeffrey Cohen, production coordinator Anita Keys, the Getty's excellent publications team, Carol Hernandez and Michael Smith in Imaging Services, and Anthony Peres and Jack Ross in Photographic Services for producing a book that astounds and delights. I am especially grateful to the lenders for sharing their precious works of art. The responsibility of preserving Cezanne's fragile, light-sensitive watercolors for future generations makes lending them a weighty decision indeed. Satisfied that the exhibition and book will be a revelation to our visitors as well as an enduring scholarly contribution, I extend heartfelt thanks to the lenders for their support and generosity, which allow today's audiences to be drawn into the orbit of Cezanne's genius. This exhibition marks the launch of a new corporate sponsorship program at the Getty, and I take great pleasure in welcoming Merrill Lynch as our inaugural sponsor.


Director, J. Paul Getty Museum

Vice President, J. Paul Getty Trust

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