Paul Cézanne (French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence)
Oil on canvas
18 1/8 x 21 3/4 in. (46 x 55.2 cm)
The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1997, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 822
This rich and dense still life, featuring a napkin shaped like Mont Sainte-Victoire, was painted about 1876–77 in the house of Cézanne's father in Aix. The decorative screen visible in the background was long thought to have been made by the artist in his youth.
Inscription: Signed (lower right): P Cezanne
Victor Chocquet, Paris (by 1877–d. 1891); his widow, Augustine Marie Caroline Chocquet, née Buisson, Paris (1891–d. 1899; her sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, July 1, 3–4, 1899, no. 31, as "Fruits," for Fr 2,000 to Durand-Ruel); Durand-Ruel family, Paris (1899–no later than 1969; transferred to gallery); [Durand-Ruel, Paris (stock no. 5347) and New York (deposit no. 9008), until 1969; share sold in February to Wildenstein]; [Wildenstein and Durand-Ruel, New York, 1969; sold on July 1 to Annenberg]; Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, Rancho Mirage, Calif. (1969–97; jointly with MMA, 1997–his d. 2002)
Paris. 6, rue le Peletier. "3e exposition de peinture [3rd Impressionist exhibition]," April 1877, no.17, 18, or 19 (as "Nature morte") [see Reff 1962].
Paris. Grand Palais des Champs-Élysées. "Salon d'automne," October 15–November 15, 1904, no. 21 (as "Nature morte," in the Salle Paul Cézanne).
Paris. Galeries Durand-Ruel. "Exposition de natures mortes par Monet, Cézanne, Renoir...," April–May 1908, no. 14 (as "Le plat de pommes").
Paris. Chambre Syndicale de la Curiosité et des Beaux-Arts. "Exposition d'oeuvres d'art des XVIIIe, XIXe et XXe siècles," April 25–May 15, 1923, no. 164 (as "Le Plat de pommes").
Paris. Bernheim-Jeune. "Rétrospective Paul Cézanne (1839–1906)," June 1–30, 1926, no. 11 (as "Le plat de pommes").
Berliner Künstlerhaus. "Erste Sonderausstellung in Berlin," January 9–mid-February 1927, no. 16 (as "Stilleben") [the exhibition was organized by the Galerien Thannhauser; see Julius Meier-Graefe, "Die Franzosen in Berlin," Der Cicerone 19 (January 1927), p. 43].
Paris. Galerie Durand-Ruel. "Quelques oeuvres importantes de Manet à Van Gogh," February–March 1932, no. 4.
Paris. Galeries Durand-Ruel. "Quelques oeuvres importantes de Corot à van Gogh," May 11–June 16, 1934, no. 4.
New York. Durand-Ruel. "Exhibition of Masterpieces by Cézanne," March 29–April 16, 1938, no. 3 [see Rewald 1996].
New York. Durand-Ruel Galleries. "The Four Great Impressionists: Cézanne, Degas, Renoir, Manet," March 27–April 13, 1940, no. 4 (as "Le plate [sic] de pommes," lent by Private Collection Durand-Ruel).
New York. Paul Rosenberg & Co. "Paintings by Cézanne (1839–1906)," November 19–December 19, 1942, no. 2 (lent anonymously).
New York. Durand-Ruel Galleries. "Manet to Picasso: Still Life," March 8–31, 1944, no. 4 (lent by a private collection).
Kunsthaus Zürich. "Paul Cézanne, 1839–1906," August 22–October 7, 1956, no. 19 (as "Stilleben: Teller mit Aepfeln," lent by Pierre Durand-Ruel).
London. Tate Gallery. "The Annenberg Collection," September 2–October 8, 1969, no. 5.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 21–September 17, 1989, unnumbered cat. (as "Dish of Apples").
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 6–August 5, 1990, unnumbered cat.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," August 16–November 11, 1990, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," June 4–October 13, 1991, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Steins Collect: Matisse, Picasso, and the Parisian Avant-Garde," February 28–June 3, 2012, not in catalogue.
Georges Rivière. "L'Exposition des impressionnistes." L'Impressionniste no. 2 (April 14, 1877) [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, vol. 1, p. 182], comments that the Cézanne still lifes in the 1877 Impressionist exhibition "ont quelque chose de solennel dans leur vérité".
Ernest Fillonneau. "Les Impressionnistes." Moniteur des arts (April 20, 1877), p. 1 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, vol. 1, p. 146], calls the Cézanne paintings in Exh. Paris 1877 "plaisanteries détestables".
Bernadille. "Chronique parisienne: L'exposition des impressionnistes." Le Français (April 13, 1877), p. 2 [reprinted in Ref. Berson 1996, vol. 1, p. 130], comments that the still life paintings shown by Cézanne at Exh. Paris 1877 "ne sont pas encore assez mortes: j'ai vu des spectateurs horripilés qui les eussent tuées volontiers".
Jean Royère. "Paul Cézanne, Erinnerungen." Kunst und Künstler 10 (July 1912), ill. p. 486, as "Stilleben".
Ambroise Vollard. Paul Cézanne. [Eng. ed., 1923]. Paris, 1914, pl. 45 (installation photo of Exh. Paris 1904).
Georges Rivière. Le Maître Paul Cézanne. Paris, 1923, pp. 211, 233, dates it 1883 and describes the background as containing "une console style Louis XV; papiers de tentures à grandes fleurs" [see Ref. Rishel 1991].
Émile Bernard. Sur Paul Cézanne. Paris, 1925, ill. opp. p. 69.
E. Tériade. "Jeunesse!." Cahiers d'Art 6 (1931), ill. p. 15, dates it 1877.
Quelques oeuvres importantes de Manet à Van Gogh. Exh. cat., Galerie Durand-Ruel. Paris, 1932, p. 13, no. 4, ill. p. 4, call it "Le plat de pommes" and date it 1877.
Lionello Venturi. Cézanne: son art—son oeuvre. Paris, 1936, vol. 1, p. 111, no. 207; vol. 2, pl. 56, no. 207, dates it 1873–77; locates it with Durand-Ruel, Paris and New York; identifies it as no. 31 in the 1899 Chocquet sale.
Élie Faure. Cézanne. Paris, , fig. 25, erroneously places it in the Lecomte-Pellerin collection.
Fritz Novotny. Cézanne und das Ende der Wissenschaftlichen Perspektive. Vienna, 1938, p. 78 n. 70, interprets the background as a wallpaper with baroque designs.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "Cézanne: Intimate Exhibition. Twenty-one Paintings Shown for the Benefit of Hope Farm." Art News 36 (March 26, 1938), p. 16, ill. p. 11, notes that it was lent anonymously to Exh. New York 1938.
Ambroise Vollard. En écoutant Cézanne, Degas, Renoir. Paris, 1938, pp. 206–7.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "Cézanne in New York." Burlington Magazine 72 (May 1938), p. 243, notes that it was lent by Durand-Ruel to Exh. New York 1938.
R. H. Wilenski. Modern French Painters. New York, , p. 371, dates it about 1875 and places it in collection of Durand-Ruel, Paris.
"Important Cézanne Survey Staged as Benefit for Fighting French." Art Digest 17 (December 1, 1942), p. 5.
[Paul Rosenberg]. Paintings by Cézanne (1839–1906). Exh. cat., Paul Rosenberg & Co. New York, 1942, p. 20, no. 2, ill. p. 42, compares it to "Pommes et gâteaux" (1877–79; private collection, Paris; R329) and speculates that ours was painted later.
Robert William Ratcliffe. "Cézanne's Working Methods and Their Theoretical Background." PhD diss., University of London, 1960, pp. 50–52, identifies the background of this picture as a screen painted by Cézanne for his father in Aix (R1–3), which allows this painting to be dated about 1876.
Yvon Taillandier. P. Cézanne. New York, , p. 58, ill. p. 20 (color), calls it "Still Life—Dish and Apples," dates it 1873–77, and locates it in the Pierre Durand-Ruel collection; describes its background as a "baroque design of a tapestry".
Theodore Reff. "Cézanne's Constructive Stroke." Art Quarterly 25 (Autumn 1962), p. 225 n. 17, based on its red signature, includes it among the group of paintings from the 1870s that was shown in Exh. Paris 1877.
Kurt Badt. The Art of Cézanne. [German ed., 1956]. Berkeley, 1965, p. 331 n. 107.
M. Roy Fisher. The Annenberg Collection. Exh. cat., Tate Gallery. London, 1969, unpaginated, no. 5, ill. (color), calls it one of Cézanne's "first monumental still lifes in a style prefiguring the masterful works of the middle and late years," observing that the "white napkin is modeled with the enduring solidity of Mont Sainte-Victoire"; notes that the screen in the background was painted in 1859–60 for Cézanne' s father.
John Rewald. "Chocquet and Cézanne." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 74 (July–August 1969), pp. 50, 55–56, 84, no. 31, fig. 15, dates it 1877–79 and speculates that it could have been acquired or commissioned by Chocquet around 1878, during a financially difficult period for the artist; tentatively agrees with Reff's [Ref. 1962] hypothesis that the works with red signatures were those shown in the 1877 Impressionist exhibition; theorizes that the selection of Cézanne's works for the exhibition was not finalized until the last minute, at which time Chocquet requested that the artist sign the canvases, thus explaining the use of the same color throughout.
Sandra Orienti inL'opera completa di Cézanne. [French ed., 1975; English ed., 1985]. Milan, 1970, pp. 94–95, no. 206, ill.
Theodore Reff. "The Pictures Within Cézanne's Pictures." Arts Magazine 53 (June 1979), p. 95, fig. 16, calls it "The Plate of Apples" and dates it about 1876; notes that Cézanne modified the design of the bottom of the second panel of his decorative screen in order to suit the composition of this picture; observes that the screen's axis corresponds to the peak of the cloth on the table and that its color scheme echoes that of the still life in the foreground; remarks that the inclusion of the screen, his earliest known work of art and a familiar family-owned object, attests to a "self-reflexive, truly conservative side of Cézanne's personality".
Sophie Monneret. L'Impressionnisme et son époque. Paris, 1979–81, vol. 4, ill. p. 157 (installation photo), erroneously dates a photograph of this painting hanging in Joseph Durand-Ruel's dining room to 1896 [see Ref. Rewald 1996].
John Rewald. Cézanne: A Biography. New York, 1986, pp. 113, 274, ill. p. 118 (color), dates it 1878–79 or possibly earlier.
Richard R. Brettell inThe New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886. Ed. Charles S. Moffett. Exh. cat., National Gallery of Art, Washington. San Francisco, 1986, pp. 195, 203–4, identifies it as one of nos. 17–19 which were "prominently hung" in Exh. Paris 1877, noting that this was the first time Cézanne exhibited a still life in public.
Sidney Geist. Interpreting Cézanne. Cambridge, Mass., 1988, pp. 96–98, 176, 248, 281, pl. 77, dates it about 1876; interprets the still life elements as representative of Cézanne's parents, wife, and the artist himself.
John Rewald with the research assistance of Frances Weitzenhoffer. Cézanne and America: Dealers, Collectors, Artists and Critics, 1891–1921. The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts, Princeton, 1989, p. 128 n. 36, p. 152 n. 23, includes it among a group of six Cézanne paintings that did not find a buyer during the 1899 Chocquet sale and which were purchased by Joseph Durand-Ruel, son of the dealer, in order to keep them in the family; notes that most of the Cézannes shown in Exh. London 1905, including this one, were "representative of the tight execution of the late seventies that Chocquet apparently favored".
Catherine Barnett. "A Very Private View: Inside Walter Annenberg's Personal Paradise." Art & Antiques 6 (March 1989), pp. 104–6, ill. (color).
Joseph J. Rishel inMasterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Colin B. Bailey, Joseph J. Rishel, and Mark Rosenthal. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 76–77, 85, 180, ill. (color and black and white), dates it between 1875–77; notes that it is the first painting to depict the sugar bowl, which reappears in several paintings executed in Aix, including "Still Life with Watermelon and Pomegranates" (1900–1906; MMA 2001.202.1); discusses it in the context of Cézanne's "desire to establish something permanent," calling this picture "one of his most complex and monumental resolutions".
Gary Tinterow. "Miracle au Met." Connaissance des arts no. 472 (June 1991), pp. 38–39, ill. (color), dates it 1875–77 in the caption and about 1875–80 in the text.
Jérôme Coignard. "Le Salon de peinture de Mr. et Mrs. Annenberg." Beaux arts no. 92 (July–August 1991), p. 69, ill. p. 64 (color).
Götz Adriani. Cézanne: Gemälde. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle Tübingen. Cologne, 1993, pp. 298, 309 nn. 18, 21[English ed., 1995].
Robert Boardingham. "Cézanne and the 1904 Salon d'Automne: 'Un chef d'une école nouvelle'." Apollo 142 (October 1995), p. 32, fig. 2 (installation photo), publishes an installation photograph of the 1904 Salon d'Automne showing this picture hanging between "Woman in a Green Hat" (1891–92; Barnes Foundation, Merion, Penn.; R700) and "Tulips in a Vase" (1888–90; Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena; R721); identifies it as no. 11, 20, or 21 in the Salon catalogue.
John Rewald, in collaboration with Walter Feilchenfeldt, and Jayne Warman. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 66, 198, 233, 562–63, 567, 569–70, no. 348; vol. 2, ill. p. 110, fig. 348, as "Le Plat de pommes"; dates it about 1877 or possibly later, citing the possibility that it was commissioned in 1878 by Chocquet [see Ref. Rewald 1969] as well as the theory that it was executed during Cézanne's stay in Aix in April through June of 1876 [see Refs. Ratcliffe 1960, Reff 1979]; suggests that it may have been meant as a pair with "Pommes et gâteaux" (1877–79; private collection, Paris; R329), which was also owned by Chocquet and is almost the same size.
Ruth Berson, ed. "Documentation: Volume I, Reviews and Volume II, Exhibited Works." The New Painting: Impressionism 1874–1886. San Francisco, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 118, 130, 146, 182; vol. 2, p. 70, no. III-19, ill. p. 87.
Gary Tinterow in "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1996–1997." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 55 (Fall 1997), pp. 5, 56, ill. (color), dates it about 1876–78; comments that this painting's "rich atmosphere... evokes the Rococo spirit of Chardin," an effect enhanced by the artist's elaborate signature.
Mary Tompkins Lewis. Cézanne. London, 2000, p. 187, fig. 118 (color), dates it about 1878 on stylistic grounds.
Jayne Warman. "Les Natures mortes au Jas de Bouffan." Jas de Bouffan—Cézanne. Aix-en-Provence, 2004, p. 16.
Joseph J. Rishel inMasterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein and Asher Ethan Miller. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 142–47, 162, 171 n. 1, no. 27, ill. (color), notes that Reff has recently questioned the attribution to Cézanne for the original screen in the background of this picture [see Theodore Reff, "Cézanne's Early Paravent at the Jas de Bouffan," "Jas de Bouffan—Cézanne," Aix-en-Provence, 2004, pp. 56–67].
Joseph J. Rishel inInventing Impressionism: Paul Durand-Ruel and the Modern Art Market. Ed. Sylvie Patry. Exh. cat., Musée du Luxembourg, Paris. London, 2015, p. 284 n. 8, p. 285 n. 13 [French ed., "Paul Durand-Ruel: le Pari de l'Impressionnisme," Paris, 2014, p. 226 nn. 8, 13].
This is one of three pictures which were the first still lifes ever exhibited by Cézanne [see Exh. Paris 1877]. Certain elements are familiar as recurring props, such as the painted folding screen in the background (Musée Granet, Paris; R3) and the brightly painted sugar bowl, which appears here for the first time; see "Still Life with Watermelon and Pomegranates" (MMA 2001.202.1; Ref. Rewald 1983, no. 561), "Deux pommes sur une table" (private collection, Japan; R840), "La Table de cuisine" (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; R636), and two paintings entitled "Nature morte à la commode" (R634; Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; R634 and Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich; R635).