Cezanne’s pixelation


Paul Cezanne: Drawings and Watercolours is a lovely new book from Thames and Hudson in a standard non-coffee table hardcover format and with generous commentary by Christopher Lloyd. It focusses, as the subtitle suggests, on Cezanne’s work other than the oils, which is good, as Cezanne is, more than others, discussed in terms of his oil paintings, unlike, say, Van Gogh or Matisse. Some of the watercolours have a scratchiness about them that is almost Giacometti-like, particularly in the portraits, while the drawings are surprisingly classical. Gouaches have an almost mid-century British feel, while later watercolours have that unmistakable pixelation that so influenced the cubists Braque and Picasso. And colours are repeated across the watercolours in a pattern that brings to mind wallpaper or fabric prints.

The other nice thing is that there is a section comparing Cezanne’s and Pissarro’s paintings of the same scenes, and again we see the move, in one step, from the softer impressionism to a blockier post-impressionistic style, as well as the tendency to leave spots of blank space a-la the Fauves.


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