Paul Cézanne’s Boy in a Red Waistcoat is deep in thought. I am too because I have no idea what this post will look like when it’s finished. …
So far, I’ve established that I like this picture and that this post will not be in Black and White. The UPDATE I expected from myself is now continuing at the National Gallery of Art’s Online Tour, where I selectively edit what it says about the Boy in a Red Waistcoat:
“This is, at once, an astonishingly modern painting and one that reflects Cézanne’s admiration for and connection to the past. The boy’s pose is that of an academic life study, and for some it has recalled the languid elegance of sixteenth-century portraiture.”
“On the other hand, it is possible to see this “portrait” as existing primarily as shapes and colors. Notice the paints used in the hands and face: these greens and mauves have little to do with human flesh.”
And this is as far as I’m taking the National Gallery of Art’s Online Tour.
In comparison with Matisse’s Woman with a Hat (which hung in Gertrude Stein’s salon at 27, rue de Fleurus), the greens and mauves in the boy’s face are so subtle they’re barely noticeable. Matisse painted the portrait of his wife with a chartreuse green face some 15 years later, shocking all in Paris. They knew each from Stein’s salons and both Picasso and Matisse said that “Paul Cézanne is the father of us all.”
Cézanne was considered the bridge between the Impressionism of 19th century and the Cubism of 20th century (which Picasso later pioneered.)
I’ve added Fastnacht because, while not as impressionistic in technique as Boy, the pigmentation of mauve and green is used in the skin tone, particularly in the costumed Pierrot. Drapery is also used as a backdrop of shapes and color.
The harlequin figure conveniently segues to Picasso’s personal symbol of his Rose Period, which is the subject of my next post.