I’ve looked at a lot of Cezanne paintings over the years, and I know some of the flower pictures first hand. The National Gallery has two beautiful flower paintings. One of them would more correctly be described as magnificient. The great Vase de fleurs painted in the artist’s last years. Philly has a great flower painting by Cezanne too. But nothing prepared me for this painting which I only know (alas) from a book. It’s printed in color in John Rewald’s catalog raisonee of the artist. Meanwhile, the original painting, which is about 32 x 39 inches, belongs to a private collector in Japan.
To me, it’s super exciting to see a painting like this. To have the flowers spread out horizontally rather than to expand vertically — I don’t know why — it just shakes my cage! I guess it must have shook Cezanne a bit too. He painted it, after all.
So this is the other thing I do. I study how my heros painted their stuff, then I do my version. It’s like jazz. You learn from the greats, then you improvise your own.
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