Thursday, November 14, 2019

"Yesterday's News"


6 x 8"
oil on panel

If you're familiar with Paul Cezanne's paintings, you think of landscapes and still lifes, like the small painting hanging on the wall behind the man's chair.  So it may surprise some, and myself included, this painting the gentleman is viewing is by Cezanne.

The painting The Artist's Father, Reading "L'Evenement" hangs in our National Gallery of Art in DC, and it is a personal favorite of mine.  I love any image of someone reading a newspaper, something you see less and less of these days.  More interesting is the story behind Cezanne's portrayal of his father, Louis-Auguste, a banker, who pushed his son to follow his career in financing and banking, but much to his dismay, Paul wanted to study art and painting, something his father considered grossly impractical.  The result was an emotionally charged relationship which lasted a lifetime.

The clues are in the painting - Cezanne used a palette knife with expressive, bold strokes of paint. You can almost feel the frustration.  He included his own painting on the wall and the newspaper L'Evenement refers to the writer Emile Zola, a friend of Cezanne's who encouraged him to pursue his study of art in Paris and later became the art critic for that very paper.  Paul's father notably read the news and financial section exclusively.

- a thanks to Stefan Draschan for permission to use part of his photo for reference.

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