The Daily Pic

Cezanne's Cliches

The Daily Pic: A watercolor shows how the great painter mixed the radical and the trite.

08.16.13 12:55 AM ET

Cezanne's "Terrace at the Garden at Les Lauves", a watercolor painted sometime between 1902 and 1906 and recently acquired by the Morgan Library in New York. It strikes me as unusually conventional in its spatial framework for a Cezanne, as though the artist is keeping space anchored as he unmoors his colors. The repoussoir plant pot at left seems especially trite, but it illustrates a crucial point we tend to loose track of (and the market wants us to ignore): That even the greatest artist can have moments of weakness, and is likely to build on cliches.

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