Overview

"The eye must grasp, bring things together," Cézanne said, "The brain will give it shape." In a still life, where the artist also creates the world he paints, each object, each placement, each viewpoint represents a decision. Cézanne painted and repainted the objects pictured here many times. The table, patterned cloth, and flowered pitcher were all props he kept in his studio. Every different arrangement was a new exploration of forms and their relationships.

Here the table tilts unexpectedly, defying traditional rules of perspective. Similarly, we see the pitcher in profile but are also allowed a look down into it. Paradoxically, it is Cézanne's fidelity to what he saw that accounts for this "denial" of logic and three–dimensional space. It is not so much that he is deliberately flattening space. Rather he is concentrating on the objects themselves instead of the perspectival scheme—the "box of air"—in which they exist. Cézanne worked slowly and deliberately. Over the course of days, he would move his easel, painting different objects—or even the same one—from different points of view. Each time, he painted what he saw. It was his absorption in the process of painting that pushed his work toward abstraction.

Inscription

Marks and Labels

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Provenance

(Ambroise Vollard [1867-1939], Paris). Edward Steichen [1879-1973] purchased 1912 for Eugene [1875-1959] and Agnes Ernst Meyer [1887-1970], Mount Kisco, New York, and Washington, D.C.;[1] gift 1959 to NGA.

Exhibition History

1921
Loan Exhibition of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1921, no. 17, as Still Life - Peaches.
1923
Loan, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1923
1977
Cézanne: The Late Work, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Grand Palais, Paris, 1977
1998
Cézanne Picasso Braque: Der Beginn des kubistischen Stillebens", Kunstmuseum Basel, 1998, no. 1, repro.
2009
Cézanne and American Modernism, Montclair Art Museum; The Baltimore Museum of Art; Phoenix Art Museum, 2009-2010, no. 21, repro. (shown only in Montclair and Baltimore).
2011
Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The National Art Center, Tokyo; Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art, 2011, no. 12, repro.

Bibliography

1923
Bulletin of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1923): 263.
1965
Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 25
1968
European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 18, repro.
1975
European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 60, repro.
1984
Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 499, no. 737, color repro.
1985
European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 79, repro.
1991
Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 165, color repro.
1996
Rewald, John. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: a catalogue raisonné. 2 vols. New York, 1996:no. 936, repro.
1997
Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism, 1997, no. 367, repro.
2004
Hand, John Oliver. National Gallery of Art: Master Paintings from the Collection. Washington and New York, 2004: 391, no. 326, color repro.

Technical Summary

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Related Works

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