Monday Motivator: Cézanne and Paper as the Central Protagonist

‘For Cézanne, paper equals paper. Mostly unpainted areas of creamy sheets form the paper labels on wine and liquor bottles. Arcs of color or pencil indicate how these paper rectangles bow to adhere to a rounded form …

‘Usually relegated to a supporting, or background, role—indeed the very terms for paper are “support” and “ground”—paper is instead the central protagonist in Cézanne’s still lifes. The nomenclature “work on paper” is similarly misleading. The work is not on paper, it is paper. Watercolor’s luminosity—its very being—is wholly dependent on the sheet on which it is painted; its tone, its brilliance, a balance between transparent pigment and the bright paper seen through.

‘… As an actor in Cézanne’s compositions, paper represents both opaque surfaces (from paper to cloth to porcelain) and translucent ones—those of glasses, carafes, and bottles.’

Jodi Hauptman, The Beauty and Life of Materiality: On Cézanne’s Drawings. in the exhibition catalogue “Cézanne Drawing

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