Straw-Trimmed Vase, Sugar Bowl and Apples

This still life is one of the finest examples of Cézanne’s inventiveness in which he adopts a radical new approach, representing the objects and fruits from an unlikely perspective. Here he chooses coherent composition over realistic depiction, rejecting a plausible representation of the motifs’ form and texture, as well as of their positions in relation to the table. Cézanne even introduces elements that are difficult to identify, such as the vertical line on the right of the vase, and the oblique line on the right (a knife handle?). Similarly, he refrained from erasing his initial traces for the position of the vase. As for the apparently unbalanced plate of fruit, Cézanne included it in several other paintings.
The painter Maurice Denis (1870-1943), a contemporary of the artist and one of his earliest admirers, remarked of Cézanne’s still lifes: "Cézanne's fruits and his unfinished figures are the best example of this working method, which may derive from Chardin (an 18th century French painter renowned for his still lifes): a few square brushstrokes, applied in the form of softly blending colours placed side by side, indicate the rounded shapes; the outline emerges only at the end, like a furious accent, a stroke denoting the essence, which emphasizes and sets off the form that has already been brought out by the gradual shadings of colour...".

Provenance: Paul Guillaume (1927); Domenica Walter