R174 – L’Homme au chapeau de paille (Gustave Boyer), vers 1871 (FWN429)

Pavel Machotka

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L’Homme au chapeau de paille (Gustave Boyer)
vers 1871

The portrait of Cézanne’s friend Gustave Boyer sets off the face and hat against a grey ground, creating a painting as elegant in its color as it is doughy in the masses and robust in its lines. The yellow of the straw hat against the adjacent black hair and the cool grey ground is in fact a harmony taken from Manet, and it is used with straightforward admiration rather than the ironic ambivalence of some of his other paintings (for example, Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe, R164-FWN610). But the lines are Cézanne’s own; they avoid the graceful flow of Manet’s brush and, restlessly, find turns and bumps where they can. The face sits well in the frame, with the piercing eye located in dead center between the right and left edges of the frame and acting as an anchor that slows down the linear swirls. Because Cézanne painted Boyer three more times and drew him once, in ways that we can recognize easily, we presume that the likeness is good, or equally good in each version; and we sense that the face is in some way congenial to the painter, perhaps because its colors are similar to his own.


Source: Machotka, Cézanne: the Eye and the Mind.


Autres portraits de Boyer :