Madame Cézanne au jardin

Paul Cézanne
Madame Cézanne au jardin
Vers 1880
huile sur toile
H. 80 ; L. 63 cm avec cadre H. 105,7 ; L. 90 ; P. 14 cm
3804
© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée de l'Orangerie) / DR
Paul Cézanne (1839 - 1906)
Niveau -2, Salle 10 Cézanne

Hortense Fiquet was a young model who initially lived with the painter and bore him a son in 1872, but whom he did not marry until 1886. This liaison was concealed from the Cézanne family for a long time. Hortense and her son were never really accepted by Cézanne’s family and friends. They were nicknamed "La boule" [the ball] and "Le boulet" [the little ball].
We know of twenty-five portraits of Hortense by Cézanne. This one is a full-length portrait in an outdoor setting, which is quite unusual as he preferred closer framings and interiors with little extraneous detail.
Cézanne took a freer approach when he painted those close to him, bringing his research into formal precision to the fore, thus giving the model a feeling of monumentality and permanence. As is often the case, Hortense’s face is expressionless.
The work seems to be unfinished, the lower part is barely painted and a large area of the preparatory white layer is still visible. It was stopped at this point, something Cezanne frequently did to make clear his disdain for the "finish".