Cézanne's Watercolors: Between Drawing and Painting

Cézanne's Watercolors: Between Drawing and Painting

by Matthew Simms, Paul Cézanne
     
 

Cézanne’s watercolors exhibit not only kaleidoscopic arrays of translucent color but also very light graphite pencil lines that contrast strikingly with the soft watery touches of color. These drawn lines have been largely overlooked in previous studies of Cézanne’s watercolors.

In this ravishing book, Matthew Simms argues that it was the

Overview

Cézanne’s watercolors exhibit not only kaleidoscopic arrays of translucent color but also very light graphite pencil lines that contrast strikingly with the soft watery touches of color. These drawn lines have been largely overlooked in previous studies of Cézanne’s watercolors.

In this ravishing book, Matthew Simms argues that it was the dialogue between drawing and painting—the movement between the pencil and the paintbrush—that attracted Cézanne to watercolor. Watercolor allowed Cézanne to express what he termed his “sensations” in two distinct modes that become a record of his shifting and spontaneous responses to his subject. Combining close visual analysis and examination of historical context, Simms focuses on the counterpoint of drawing and color in Cézanne’s watercolors over the course of his career and as viewed in relation to his oil paintings. More than a tool for sketching or preparing for oil paintings, Simms contends, watercolor was a unique means of expression in its own right that allowed Cézanne to combine in one place the two otherwise opposed mediums of drawing and painting.

Editorial Reviews

Choice

"The reproductions, including numerous close-up details of Cézanne's work, are among the best in any of the multitude of publications on Cézanne. . . . This lovely book will be useful to a wide range of readers interested in Cézanne. Recommended." —Choice

Library Journal

Simms (art history, California State Univ., Long Beach) presents a serious study of French painter Paul Cézanne, discussing the relationship between drawing and painting in his watercolors and its significance in transposing his sensations into transcendental works of art. Simms focuses progressively on the factors that contributed to the artist's unique tonal paintings. In five chapters, he covers Cézanne's earliest watercolors in the 1860s, when his work was daring and helped establish his reputation; the influence of Pissaro and Impressionism in the 1870s; his mature works of the 1880s and 1890s; the significance of the blank paper, or reserves, in his watercolors; and the notion of genesis in his important bathers paintings. Simms concludes that the "dialog between the drawing and painting" in Cézanne's watercolors has been overlooked. An important contribution to Cézanne scholarship; all special collections of modern art and French painting, as well as academic and public libraries with art history collections, should acquire.
—Ellen Bates

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780300140668
Publisher:
Yale University Press
Publication date:
10/01/2008
Pages:
256
Sales rank:
1,224,015
Product dimensions:
10.10(w) x 11.70(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Simms is associate professor of art history at California State University, Long Beach.

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