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An image of recto: Imaginary scene
verso: Study of a woman and faun by Paul Cézanne
Alternate image of recto: Imaginary scene
verso: Study of a woman and faun by Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne

(France 19 Jan 1839 – 22 Oct 1906)

Title
recto: Imaginary scene verso: Study of a woman and faun
Year
recto 1869-1876
verso 1869-1873
Media category
Drawing
Materials used
pencil
Dimensions

8.5 x 14.4 cm sheet

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Purchased with funds provided by Margaret Olley 2003
Accession number
269.2003
Location
Not on display
Further information

Despite Cézanne's alignment with the naturalistic tendency in contemporary art (he exhibited in the first Impressionist exhibition in 1874) he continued to produce, in a small way, imaginary or fantasy compositions in the strange, clumsy style of his so-called 'couillarde' (or ballsy) period. The dating of this drawing on stylistic grounds alone must therefore remain uncertain.

The extremely free, rhythmic, scrawly qualities of the drawing, where the sheet is treated as a totality, corresponds to Cézanne's intense admiration of Delacroix, both as a painter and as a draughtsman. People in modern dress in an outdoor setting had become, since Manet's 'Le déjeuner sur l'herbe' 1863, a favourite theme of the Impressionists. However, the latter always worked from life models in real settings and not from the imagination. In Cézanne's case the artificial qualities of his outdoor gatherings relates back to a grand tradition in French and Italian art.

Around 1876 this genre in Cézanne's work was on the verge of mutating into the first of his great series of bathers compositions. This sheet is of particular interest because it can be directly related to the painting in the Metropolitan Museum NY, 'The fishermen - a day in July' circa 1875. Our drawing could be either a preliminary study or a revision made after the painted composition. It is a brilliant example of Cézanne's exuberant, youthful style with its conscious investigation of baroque composition.

The verso bears a slight sketch of a reclining woman and a faun, together with unrelated numerical inscriptions in the artist's hand.

Bibliography (11)

Adrien Chappuis, The drawings of Paul Cézanne: a catalogue raisonné, London, 1973, vol. 1: 117; vol. 2: (illus.). cat.no. 321 (a) and 322 (b)

Adrien Chappuis, Dessins de Cézanne, Lausanne, 1957, (illus.). no. 20 and 21, illustration is of (a)

Kunsthalle Tübingen, Paul Cézanne, Köln, 1978, 225 (illus.). cat.no. 129, illustration is of (a)

Musée de L'Orangerie, Cézanne, Paris, 1936. cat.no. 143

Musée de Lyon, Centenaire de Paul Cézanne, 1939. cat.no. 59

Peter Raissis, Look, 'Auction coup', pg. 28-29, Newtown, Dec 2003-Jan 2004, 28 (illus.), 29. illustration is of (a)

John Rewald, The paintings of Paul Cézanne: a catalogue raisonné, New York, 1996, vol. 1: 169.

Georges Henri Rivière, Le maître Paul Cézanne, Paris, 1923, 167 (illus.). illustration is of (a)

Jill Sykes (Editor), Look, 'The beauty of Cezanne's drawings', Newtown, Dec 2008-Jan 2009, 12 (illus.), 13. illustration is of (a)

Lionello Venturi, Cézanne, son art, son oeuvre, Paris, 1936, vol. 1: 298; vol. 2: 342 (illus.). no. 1230, illustration is of (a)

Wildenstein & Co., London, Homage to Paul Cézanne, 1939. cat.no. 76

Exhibition history (5)

Cézanne, Musée de L'Orangerie, Paris, May 1936–Oct 1936

Centenaire du peintre indépendant Paul Cézanne, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, Mar 1939–Apr 1939

Homage to Paul Cézanne, Wildenstein & Co., London, London, Jul 1939–Jul 1939

Centenaire de Paul Cézanne, Musée de Lyon, Lyon, 1939–1939

Paul Cézanne, das zeichnerische Werk, Kunsthalle Tübingen, Germany, 21 Oct 1978–31 Dec 1978