Monday, December 17, 2012

The Secret Laboratory Of Immutable Laughter

A troubled, tormented, and unstable Cézanne laboriously found his way and decided on his destiny between the ages of forty-five and fifty-five, ultimately settling in Provence in order to pursue his “studies” and accomplish his purpose. In a family situation that he saw as an obstacle to his art, choices were painful. His marriage to Hortense Fiquet, which also took place in 1886 (following a mysterious and short-lived affair with another woman), seems to have been a belated attempt to legitimize his relationship. His profound sense of self-doubt was exacerbated by failures he took deeply to heart. His solution to his problems—isolation—cut him off from the art world (which he often regretted) but also provided the secret laboratory in which his work would develop.

During this period, while Cézanne’s personal life was more chaotic than ever, his painting was moving inexorably toward permanence, immutability, and monumentality of form.

Bruno Ely
from the chapter “Gardanne,
Montbriand, and Bellevue”

Whenever I see a landscape image—
I mean one that’s not a Cézanne painting—
I think, “This would be more interesting
if it were a Cézanne landscape painting.”

When I see an image of a figure—
a figure not painted by Morisot—
I think, “I miss the implicit drama
Morisot would have found a way to paint.”

A mad scientist in a secret lab
working to depict Morisot’s drama
using Cézanne’s monumentality
laughs, I bet, more than most mad scientists.

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