I had just returned from seeing this superb little exhibition at the Courtauld Galleries at Somerset House. ‘Little’ in size perhaps but most certainly not in scope, depth and value to the serious modern artist. To be able to get beneath the surface of these important works, see how the concept was developed, the thinking and process made manifest was vital to me as someone whose valued Cezanne above all others for some 40 years. And moreover to get up tight to the paint surface and see the application and colours (so often corrupted by the printing process) for real was a unique opportunity: these paintings and drawings will never again be reunited in our lifetime. Only two were missing, one from the Barnes Foundation (who aren’t allowed to loan out works) and one in private hands who were regrettably unwilling to lend.
Going back to look at some of Cezanne’s writings, I came across some timely thoughts. One in particular seemed germaine, “Art never addresses itself to more than an extremely small number of individuals“. I heard someone at the exhibition say, “Are all these by Cezanne?”..!
He also said “It’s sufficient to have a feeling for art – and without doubt it’s the horror of the bourgeois, this feeling.”
Finally, “One doesn’t replace the past, one only adds a new link to it.”
The mark of a good exhibition for me is one that gets me leaping back to my own easel while reassuring me that I’m going in the right direction.
[February 2014] Well I was then but not now for I’ve been away, battling with science and the corruption of it by politicians. I’m waiting for a visit from Cezanne (he usually sits on my shoulder, grumbling and encouraging) or someone to gee me up and make me see the beauty all around me once again.