European Art: 19th Century

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Tulips in a Vase, 1888-1890

Paul CĂ©zanne

French, 1839-1906
Oil on paper, mounted on board
28-1/2 x 16-1/2 in. (72.4 x 41.9 cm)
Norton Simon Art Foundation, Gift of Mr. Norton Simon
© Norton Simon Art Foundation

On view

Paul Cézanne began painting floral still lifes in the 1870s alongside his friend Camille Pissarro. Yet even as he drew away from Pissarro after nearly a quarter century of artistic dialogue, the younger painter from Provence continued to paint fruits and flowers. This still life is one such work, probably painted on a visit to his wife in Paris. Interestingly, it is one of only two still lifes in Cézanne’s oeuvre to include tulips. Cézanne’s vibrant palette of deep pinks, greens, oranges and blues—employed throughout the larger-than-life depiction—was noticed by Fauve painters upon the work’s exhibition at the 1904 Salon d’Automne in Paris. Henri Matisse in particular took note of its decorative palette, and its significance resonates throughout the marvelous still lifes created by the twentieth-century master.

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