A watercolour of a dining table with a plate of apples, a tall bottle, and a chair back visible behind. The table is deep mahogany red and the apples yellow and red. The lines and brushstrokes are loose and loop across the page, with untouched paper visible in multiple places.
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Apples, Bottle and Chairback, 1904 - 1906 (circa), The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

Apples, Bottle and Chairback

Paul Cézanne

In his studio in the hills north of Aix-en-Provence, Cézanne produced an important group of still-life watercolours, of which this drawing is among the most magnificent. Remarkable for their freedom, imagination and sense of movement, and generally made on a large scale, in these late watercolours the artist pushed the boundaries of the medium. Rather than attempting an objective reproduction of nature, the artist sought to convey his personal vision of it.   

This watercolour is a technical tour de force of looping, zigzagging pencil-marks and brushstrokes combined to form an image that appears effortless. This skilful dialogue between graphite line and intense primary colours, as well as the luminosity of the untouched paper, create an evocative effect that distances these objects from reality and moves them into the realm of pure imagination.

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Two men sit across from each other at a table covered with a brown tablecloth, playing cards. Both men wear overcoats and hats, and the man on the left smokes a pipe. They sit inside a wooden building. i Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) The Card Players, around 1892-96, The Courtauld, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust)

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