Thursday, December 13, 2007


When Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) settled in Paris in 1863, Romanticisim was very much in the wane. As he had been rejected by the Ecole des Beaux Arts, he had to drew on all possible sources. Courbet was one of his main source of inspiration. Camille Pissarro convinced Cézanne to adopt the broken brushwork and light palette of the Impressionists. He exhibited at the first and third Impressionist group shows, but soon lost faith in the goals of the movement.

"The greatness of Cézanne, wrote for the 1936 Salon in Paris the art critic Douglas Lord from the
Burlington Magazine, is now incontestable."

For somebody born almost a century earlier (1839) and then dead since 1906 it was indeed high time. At least it was a consecration. In 1980 the Paysan en blouse bleue (1897, 63.5x80 cm, oil on canvas), part of the famous Henri Ford II's collection's sale in May 1980, fetched 3.9 million de dollars bought by the Kimbell Art Museum of Fort Worth (Texas) whose collection of Impressionists is quite fabulous.

Over 20,000 people visited the 5 days exhibition prior to the Ford's sale. The total of the sale reached $ 18.3 million. Henri Ford II had said that he would come to the sale but then told the auctioneers that there was a strike in Detroit and that he preferred not to be seen at the sale :"It would look very bad, he said, if I was seen to have made 10 million (the amount of the estimate) or more while I was telling the automobile constructors to get stuffed for $1.5." When the autioneers told him the sale had made 18 millions, he was nonplussed and said:"Well done, Jesus, people are crazy."

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