1839 – Aix en Provence – 1906
”Homme nu”. Circa 1862/65
Charcoal on brownish laid paper, laid down on cardboard. 46,5 × 30 cm. (18 ¼ × 11 ¾ in.) Catalogue raisonné: Feilchenfeldt/Warman/Nash 2083-TA (https://Www.Cezannecatalogue.Com/Catalogue/Entry.Php?id=174; Abfrage am 6.4.2022). In the paper isolated creases and tears at the sheet edges, by laying down smoothed and closed. Linear scuff marks with minor paint losses.  Framed
ProvenancePrivate Collection, Germany
EUR 50.000 – 70.000
USD 55,600 – 77,800
93,750 EUR (incl. premium)
ExhibitionVon Linie und Farbe. Französische Zeichnungen des 19. Jahrhunderts aus der Graphischen Sammlung im Städel und aus Frankfurter Privatbesitz. Frankfurt a.M., Städelsches Kunstinstitut und Städtische Galerie, 2001/02, cat. no. 37, ill. („Männlicher Akt, sitzend“)
Literature and IllustrationJohn Rewald: The History of Impressionism. New York, The Museum of modern Art, 1946, ill. p. 54, and die überarbeitete, erweiterte edition New York 1961, ill. p. 62 („Study of a Negro Model“) / Adrien Chappuis: The Drawings of Paul Cézanne. A Catalogue Raisonné. Greenwich, CT, New York Graphic Society, 1973, cat. no. 93, ill. („Male nude“) / Auktionen no. 86-88: modern Graphik, Kunst des 20. Jahrhunderts, painting des 17.-19. Jahrhunderts, Schmuck, Silber. Zurich, Eberhart Auktionen, 30.5.-1.6.1991, cat. no. 274, m. Abb
Black hat and white handkerchief
In the highly acclaimed Frankfurt exhibition on 19th-century French drawing (Städel Museum, 2001), our large-format nude already caught the eye of visitors. Paul Cézanne's "Homme nu", an early master drawing by the artist, was created within the framework of academic nude studies common at the time - and points far beyond these: "Tightly fitted between the edges of the paper", Cézanne zooms his model as close to us as possible. Quasi together with Cézanne, we look at the man sitting in strict profile in front of us. His body is "mainly made up of surfaces" that "show a lively alternation of light and dark, of illuminated and non-illuminated parts, of surface and depth", as Cézanne specialist Inken Freudenberg explains. "Holes in the shadows" provide physical volume by visually "jumping out", indeed "bringing everything into relief, putting it into colour". Cézanne clearly shows us his early interest in the effect of light and shadowy moments - but not in the sense of "signatures of the ephemeral", as was so important for the Impressionists, for example, but in order to intensify the "impression of a fixed pictorial composition" he wanted: "The motivic proximity to ideas of nature recur again and again in Cézanne's depictions of figures and still lifes - one may only recall here the draperies in his still lifes that pile up like mountains. This search for ambiguities in form is a style deliberately chosen by Cézanne," says Freudenberg. In this respect, too, our early nude is a significant example. If we look at the central part between the sitter's arm and stomach, we glimpse the aforementioned Cézannean "shadow hole" of this drawing. It looks like "a deep crevice in front of which the abdominal part rises like a rock face".
In 1861, Cézanne had moved from Aix-en-Provence to Paris. It was in the legendary Académie Suisse, a kind of open study studio where people could draw from living models for a small fee without lessons - and thus without academic requirements and examinations. A whole series of today's famous painters drew together with Cézanne in this nude room of a run-down house on the Île de la Cité between 1862 and 1865: Edouard Manet, Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet. Through Monet we also know of Cézanne's habit of "placing a black hat and a white handkerchief near the model to mark the two poles between which the colour values appear".
Another male head profile is indicated in the upper right corner. Formally, the leaf neighbours are "deliberately juxtaposed", but "they look past each other, are as if from two worlds". As Freudenberg explains, Cézanne often put things together in his study sheets, including portraits, which stand side by side as if by chance and yet enter into a dialogue with each other in the course of viewing the picture. Anna Ahrens
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