I was particularly interested in learning as much as I could about Cézanne since one of his paintings will be included in the French Moderns exhibit opening tomorrow at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Watching the movie Cézanne et moi is a lush visual experience, however the story hops around in time so much it gets confusing. Another thing I found confusing was trying to figure out whether Paul Cézanne was an impressionist artist.
The movie shows him socializing with impressionist painters Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet and Camille Pissarro.
In one scene in the film Cezanne is at a picnic flirting with impressionist painter Berthe Morisot. Her work will also be in the upcoming Winnipeg Art Gallery exhibit.
Impressionists were known for their fine brush strokes and in the movie we see Cezanne buying fine tipped brushes from an art supply store. The store owner even remarks on how different they are from the thicker brushes painters often buy. Impressionists used light colors and the art supply store owner also comments on the fact that Cezanne isn’t purchasing black paint. In multiple film scenes Cezanne is painting en plein air or outside, which was another characteristic of the impressionists. On a boat ride with his friend Émile Zola Cezanne goes on a rant about wanting to paint natural light and movement and capture emotion in his work. If you look through a check list of what describes impressionist artwork you’ll see references to light and movement and emotion as well.
Yet at one point in the movie Cezanne declares, “I hate impressionists.” Conventional wisdom on the topic says although Cezanne hung out with the impressionists, exhibited many times with them, and shared many ideas with them, he is not a true impressionist but a post-impressionist. I read a bunch of articles about post-impressionists and was pretty puzzled. I was glad when I came upon The Art of Seeing Monet and Cezanne by C.S. Moore because it basically said what I had already discovered….. that defining post -impression is complex and confusing.
That complexity and confusion not withstanding Cezanne created art, that like the film about him, will provide a lush visual experience. I am looking forward to seeing his work in person today when I get a preview of the French Moderns exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.