R952 – Homme assis, 1905-1906 (FWN546)

RW638 – Paysan au canotier, 1906

Pavel Machotka

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Paysan au canotier

Homme assis
R952 – FWN546











One of the pictures of the last decade of men with crossed knees is brought together from patches of color; it is the originality of this vision that distinguishes it from the others, as it does Le Jardinier Vallier. From the preparatory watercolor (Paysan au canotier, RW638) it is clear that the composition was conceived in patches of three colors (blue, green, and brown) mixed in different proportions to distinguish the jacket, the pants, and the deply shaded background. In the oil (Homme assis, R952), these differences are made clearer, and a coral red is introduced, even into the face, to bring the colors into full equilibrium. We now respond to two intense complementary pairs, blue-yellow and red-green. The background landscape makes full use of the harmony of dark greens and blues evident in Paysage bleu (R882), but it has little structure of its own; its one recognizable shape is the forked tree, which was intended from the first to connect the figure to its setting. It is also clear that Cézanne never never intended for the painting to be a portrait; but if we are deprived of the likeness, we are that much freer to experience the picture as painting – one is tempted to say “pure painting” — itself.

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