Fleurs et fruits

Paul Cézanne
Fleurs et fruits
vers 1880
huile sur toile
H. 35 ; L. 21 cm avec cadre H. 49,7 ; L. 35,5 ; P. 9 cm
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de l'Orangerie) / Hervé Lewandowski
Paul Cézanne (1839 - 1906)
Artwork not currently exhibited in the museum

This work has an amusing and mysterious story. It was, in fact, originally part of a painting that was left unfinished. This painting was probably cut into at least two parts by a dealer, between 1904 and 1914. Paul Guillaume bought Fleurs et fruits [Flowers and Fruits] in 1931 from the dealer Ambroise Vollard (1866-1939). Many years after his death, his widow Domenica, who liked Cézanne’s paintings, bought Flowers in a Blue Vase without knowing that it was the other half of the painting - a painting also in the Musée de l’Orangerie. It was the curator, Michel Hoog, who eventually managed to piece together part of the story in 1992.
The two pieces of the painting had been reworked. They have since been restored, and the repainting done when the painting was cut has been removed. It is now possible to see the cream coloured preparation of the original canvas.
Flowers and Fruits is a painting of the highest quality. The composition is simple yet well thought out. The fruits are arranged according to size and in order of the spectrum from orange to blue.
We do not know any more about these two works. Cézanne rarely left paintings unfinished, usually preferring to destroy them.