Paul Czannewas born in Aix-en-Provence, a small town south of France.
As a young boy, Czannespassions lay in his poetry and his friends, including Emile Zola (Preble 402). Czanneis included in the time of the Post-Impressionists. Czanne wanted to makeImpressionism into something solid and enduring like the art of museums (Preble401).
Czanne did not have a typical, (as I define as friendly), relationshipwith his father. Czanne had some problems with his father. Czannes fatherwanted for Czanne to be a lawyer. His father had sent him to a college forlawyers but Czanne was coaxed otherwise by his friend Zola her moved to Paris(Preble 402). Czannes father had bought the Jas de Bouffan, which would bethe place that Czanne did many of his works (Rewald 21).
The Jas de Bouffanwould be their residence for over a half a century. In one of Czannespaintings of their residence he omits people and animals that, like in most ofhis paintings, would disrupt the unchanging features of the scene (Murphy 150).Czannes father was always in a struggle with his son. His father was onethat could not comprehend anyone being able to be successful in anything thatdid not make him or her rich. One thing that his father had to be able torecognize was that his son had determination, but his father was utterly blindin seeing his sons talent (Rewald 35). When Czannes father died, Czannespoke of him as a genius for leaving him an income of 25,000 francs (Murphy123).
Czanne married his 12-year affair Hortense Fiquet. A few months aftertheir marriage, Czannes father died. Hortense was not welcome at the Jas deBouffan by Czannes mother and sister. People say that his mother and sisterbanned her from the house and they were in a rage of giving her too much money(Murphy 117). Czannes sister, Marie, was the one that encouraged themarriage, even though she disliked Hortense, in hope that in would lift thespirits of her brother.
Hortense and Czanne did not along very well (Rewald125). Even after their marriage, Czanne had no thought about living the Jas orhis other and sister. Czanne thought that 16,000 francs, which were her share,was all that she needed (Rewald 125). Emile Zola was Pauls best friend. Czanneand Zola were attracted by their shared interest in literary movements andartists.
Zola and Czanne played an important role in each others life withZola helping start Czannes art career and Czanne helping Zola to startthinking about pictorial art (Murphy 14). Czanne at one point thought he couldwrite and some of his works are found in his letters to Zola: Dark, thickunwelcome mist covers me up; The sun withdraws its last handful of diamonds(Murphy 14). Zola was a very important person on telling the history of Czanne.However, their friendship had its rocky times and its breakup by Zola.
Zola canrecall the complete disorder of Czannes studio (Rewald 62). Zola tells ushow Czanne rarely swept the interior of his studio for fear that the dustwould disrupt his works. Czanne based his work on the observation of natureand used separate strokes that were visible to make rich surfaces (Preble 400).Czanne tried counting on the connection between adjacent strokes of color toshow the entirety of the form and the space decreasing. In Czannes TheSaint Victoire from Bellevue we can see how Czanne uses this technique to showspace and depth from a flat plane. Czanne likes to make alterations on natureand enlarge the mountain; Czanne also makes spatiality more clear and distinctthan the actual photographs of the motifs (Loran 125). Czanne seemed to beobsessed by this mountain and somewhat exaggerated the size of it in every oneof his paintings (Murphy 154). In another view of this, entitled Mont Saint-Victoire,Czanne uses the tree to show height by extending it the entire length of thecanvas.
Czanne utilizes color contrasts to show depth playing with cool andwarm color shifts (Schapiro 66). Czanne painted this scene at least 60 timesfrom every possible angle. Czanne had a very distinct style of painting. Tomove out of the style of the broken-color of the Impressionists, Czannecreated the system of modulating the colors from a volume of cool to warm orlight to dark. He made a series of steps (Loran 25). As the colors begin tooverlap they are creating a three-dimensional image.
Czanne very seldom evermade a line around his paintings (Loran 26). Czanne would make the linesvirtually disappear off the edge thus creating more volume. This would make Czannespaintings pass to the negative or the background (Loran 26). This technique canbe seen in Czannes Still Life with Apples, a Bottle, and a Milk Pot (Rewald253). In this painting we are able to see the way Czanne literally escapes theuse of encompassing lines. Czanne loses the edges in this painting producingan image of it pass into the background. Let us return to the color modulationthat Czanne created.
Color balance was one final aim for Czanne. Czanneslight sources are moderately consistent and his shadows are a very importantelement to his color (Loran 28). Czanne was known to work on several canvasesat one time changing from one to the other depending on the time of day or thelocation of the sun. One of his paintings that express this color balance isChestnut Trees and Farmhouse at the Jas de Bouffan (Rewald 150). In thispainting Czanne is also building on the volumes, which leads us to the nextperspective on his work. Czanne used lines to create planes, but he usedplanes to create volume. If every artist can agree on one thing, it is that Czanneachieved volume (Loran 27). In Czannes The Quarry Called Bibemus, thevolume is accentuated.
Czanne relies on warm-to-cold contrasts and overlappingforms to give the volume instead of linear and aerial perspective (Murphy 81).The color contrast between the bright green tree and the orange rock make thespace perfectly clear without the use of lines (Loran 71). Czanne had problemswith perspective. In his Road to Gardanne, Czanne drastically changes thescene in order to organize space.
Czanne compresses the size of the foregroundand makes the road with a sharper turn. Czanne also reduces the size of thetrees immensely, but increases the size of the bridge immensely (Loran 48). Thissame technique is also used in Mardi Gras and Harlequin.
This is one of hismonumental works in which he struggles with his space organization. His son,Paul, posed for the paintings as Harlequin (Murphy 108). In this photo Czanneshows his struggle of space by adding sections to the plane. We can see acrinkle in the canvas area of the ankle and toe of Harlequin.
Czanne alsocaused distortions in his paintings that were merely accidental. Due to the factthat Czanne would still be scheming his paintings distortion was often made(Loran 29). We can see this in his artwork entitled Women Bathers (Schapiro117).
We can see in this painting how the head of one of the women is distortedand somewhat absent from the painting. His distortion was sometimes justconsidered a lack of dexterity and manual skill, which he later mastered. It issaid that because Czanne had not reduced himself to simple abstract shapesthere were distortions. He was still trying to capture the realistic look bysmudging and smearing (Loran 95). The paintings distortion can also beexplained by the fact that he did all canvases at one time which did not allowhim much accuracy on the human figure. Much distortion can be seen in thepainting of another Bathers (Rewald 87). In this painting, the bathers can noteven be distinguished without reading the name. In Czannes LEstaque, Czanneis showing how he unifies the foreground and background of some of his paintings(Schapiro 63).
Unlike the original picture of this scene where the foregroundand background are clearly separate, Czannes paintings unify hem into one,so that they merge to look continuous with one another. Czanne is losing theaerial perspective that is held highly among the Impressionists (Loran 106).Works Cited 1Loran, Erle. Czannes Composition: Analysis of His Form withDiagrams and Photographs of his Motifs. University of California Press, 1970.
2Murphy, Richard W. The World of Czanne : 1839-1906. Time-Life Books, Inc.,1968. 3Preble, Duane, Preble, Sarah, and Frank, Patrick, Artforms: AnIntroduction to the Visual Arts.
Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries.Addison Wesley Longman, 1999. 4Rewald, John. Czanne: A Biography. Harry N.Abrams, Inc., 1986.
5Schapiro, Meyer. Paul Czanne. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,1952.Bibliography1Loran, Erle. Czannes Composition: Analysis of His Form with Diagramsand Photographs of his Motifs.
University of California Press, 1970. 2Murphy,Richard W. The World of Czanne : 1839-1906. Time-Life Books, Inc., 1968.3Preble, Duane, Preble, Sarah, and Frank, Patrick, Artforms: An Introduction tothe Visual Arts.
Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. Addison WesleyLongman, 1999. 4Rewald, John. Czanne: A Biography. Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
,1986. 5Schapiro, Meyer. Paul Czanne. Harry N.
Abrams, Inc., 1952.Arts and Painting