Cézanne was in his fifties when he undertook a painting campaign devoted to giving memorable form to a subject that inspired the likes of Caravaggio and Chardin. He was determined from the start—as we see in this sturdy Provençal scene—to make it his own. Cézanne carefully crafted this composition from figure studies he had made of local farmhands. Once he had puzzled-out his conception, he continued to fine-tune the poses and positions of the card players, until they—like the four pipes hanging on the wall behind them—each fell perfectly into place. Cézanne channeled the quiet authority he achieved here into a much larger variant (Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia) and punctuated the series with three works in which he pared away extraneous details to focus his gaze on a pair of players.
The Painting: In his mid-fifties and at the height of his career, Paul Cézanne began a series of paintings, drawings, and watercolors of card players. The unprecedented repetition of the theme of card players and the monumental scale at which he chose to work in two of the later canvases demonstrate the significance of the project for him. Cézanne referred to his five paintings of card players as "souvenirs of the museums" (Vollard 1990), as they were steeped in art historical references to paintings by past European masters. We know from his dealer Ambroise Vollard (1914) that "every afternoon Cézanne would go to the Louvre or to the Trocadero to sketch the Old Masters." (Vollard  first saw any of Cézanne’s work in 1892, at the time of the completion of The Met’s picture, which he bought from the artist seven or eight years later.) The younger painter Emile Bernard, for whom Cézanne was a role model, also noted the influence on the Provençal artist not only of paintings in the Louvre but also of engravings after paintings of major European predecessors (Bernard 1904).
Technical analysis of The Met’s painting has revealed it as probably the first essay in the series, after single-figure studies, following critic Georges Rivière’s (1933) first identification of it as the first painting in the series. (For a discussion of the technical analysis, see below.) Preparatory works suggest that each of the peasant models posed individually in the studio and that Cézanne built this scene with four figures on his own from these studies (Ireson and Wright 2010). Paulin Paulet, a gardener at the Cézanne family estate Jas de Bouffan just outside Aix-en-Provence, posed for the figure on the left (Ireson and Wright 2010). We know from his daughter that he was paid five francs to pose (transcript of interview with Léontine Paulet, 1955, M. Provence Archive, Atelier des Lauves, according to Ratcliffe 1960). In addition to posing for The Met’s and the Barnes Collection’s (see fig. 1 above) pictures, Paulin Paulet also may have posed for the figure on the right in Cézanne’s three remaining two-character card-playing scenes in the Musée d’Orsay (fig. 2), the Courtauld Gallery (fig. 3), and a private collection (ca. 1892–96), as well as for his two versions of The Smoker (ca. 1890–91, Städtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim, and ca. 1890–92, State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg). Rivière (1933) identified the man with the pipe at the rear as "le père Alexandre," a farmworker at Jas who posed for the Man with a Pipe compositions (figs. 4, 5) as well as the card players series. The other models are unknown but are generally believed to be other workers on the family farm.
Cézanne’s models posed for this scene at Jas de Bouffan, but the exact setting there is a mystery. According to Cézanne’s friend Joachim Gasquet (1921), the series was painted in the farmhouse kitchen on the Cézanne family estate, rather than the main house where he usually painted. Fritz Novotny (1937) also identified the setting as the estate, but Athanassoglou-Kallmyer (2003) qualified that identification by stating that it was a room in Jas de Bouffan "made to appear like a tavern"; she also promoted a connection between the subject matter and its placement in a tavern-like setting with new government restrictions on gambling in the 1890s and the very tangible threat, then, to card manufacturers of Provence (a cause taken up by a childhood friend of Cézanne’s, the socialist politician Victor Leydet). Cézanne’s native Provence actually was one of the oldest regions for the production of playing cards in France, and the act of card playing was a frequent pastime there.
The Theme: In Cézanne’s hands, the notion of passing the hours by playing cards turns into a timeless subject. Contemporary critics saw the artist’s seriousness in presenting this theme and compared his work to that of the seventeenth-century Le Nain brothers, Caravaggio, and others. But, as John House (2010) has argued, the ambiguous setting and the lack of facial expression, communicative gestures, and anecdotal detail remove Cézanne’s images of card players from their precedents to something else again, something new. House noted that the painter used previous compositional arrangements but stripped forms of "the chain of associative meanings that they carried in their previous incarnations." Removed from the more typical associations of baudy tavern life or moralizing tales, Cézanne’s cardplaying can be seen as a ritual that, in and of itself, evokes provincial life’s single long time frame with no beginning or end (House 2010).
It was Gasquet (1921) who recalled Cézanne often examining Mathieu Le Nain’s The Card Players (fig. 6) in the Musée Granet while growing up in Aix-en-Provence and exclaiming "Voilà comment je voudrais peindre!" (That is how I would like to paint!) Both the rear standing figure in The Met’s picture and both rear figures in the Barnes version recall the apparition-like figure at rear left in the Le Nain painting. A similar figure appears at the rear in Antoine Le Nain’s The Little Card Players (Les Petits Joueurs de cartes) (fig. 7), which was acquired for the Louvre museum in 1874 (Ireson and Wright 2010). Both, too, can be seen as sources for Cézanne’s placement of his card players around a central table. Nancy Ireson (2012) stressed the importance of Cézanne’s childhood friend Antony Valabrèque as the painter’s conduit to the Le Nain brothers, as Valabrèque was an expert on the Le Nains, having devoted a study to their work that would be published years later (1904).
Images of card players actually derive from Renaissance banquet scenes. While, traditionally, the subject has been associated with stories of swindlers in action, Cézanne’s picture avoids any such moralizing element. Not long before beginning his card players series, Cézanne made a painted copy of Dutch seventeenth-century master of peasant genre scenes Adriaen van Ostade’s (1610–1685) etching The Family (The Met, 23.65.30). (The copy of 1885–90 is in a private collection.) Cézanne’s interest in the inherent nobility of rural peasant subjects from his native Aix led him to focus on such images; the lessons he gained from the copying exercise included the sheer worthiness of peasant subjects, the value of a realist approach, and the importance of imposing a structure on any such given scene. While the nineteenth-century art world was firmly tied to a hierarchy that placed such peasant genre pictures considerably below religious and history painting, art-historical precedents such as Van Ostade gave Cézanne hope for another road to popular acclaim.
Cézanne’s contemporary Ernest Meissonier (1815–1891) took up the call of seventeenth-century precedents in meticulous small-scale genre scenes with figures in period costume. His The Card Players (The Met, 25.110.39) of 1863, for example, took up the same subject as Cézanne but in an exacting detail contrary to the Provençal painter’s simplified forms. Art historians Kirk Varnedoe (1976) and Theodore Reff (1980) found other sources for Cézanne’s series in Gustave Caillebotte’s The Besique Game (Partie de bésique) (1880, private collection) and Jean-François Raffaëlli’s illustration from Joris-Karl Huysmans’ "Les Habitués de café," in Les Types de Paris (Paris: Le Figaro, 1889). Caillebotte’s painting was exhibited in Paris in 1882, when Cézanne was there. In addition to the inclusion of a standing observing figure and a similar slightly downward point-of-view, Caillebotte’s picture shares with The Met’s painting a grander scale and quieter concentration among the figures than in the brawling tavern scenes of Dutch seventeenth-century genre precedents (Varnedoe 1976). (Caillebotte’s bezique players, however, reflect his own socio-economic group, whereas Cézanne’s card players, though very familiar from his daily surroundings at Jas, are quite apart from his own [House 2010].) (For more extensive discussions of the various art historical sources for The Met’s picture, see Reff 1980 and House 2010.)
The Series and Technical Analysis: X-radiography (fig. 8) and examination under infrared light have revealed many changes by the artist as well as accretions of paint in the areas of these changes. Heavier build-up of paint is visible around the shoulders, backs, and hats of the figures in The Met’s picture; Cézanne revisited these densely painted areas on multiple occasions over the two-year period in which he worked on this canvas. Cézanne made fewer changes on the version in the Barnes Collection. In the wake of scientific analysis, The Met’s smaller canvas, therefore, is now thought to precede the Barnes picture. The painter worked in a conventional manner, scaling up to work on a canvas almost two times the size of The Met’s picture for the Barnes version. Cézanne painted out the hat worn by the central figure in the Barnes version; after building up the area around the figure’s head with paint (visible in raking light), the artist chose to streamline the composition instead. He did, however, add the figure of Leontine Paulet, the gardener’s daughter, sitting on the rear right in the Barnes version. While the same pipe rack and golden curtain appear in both pictures, a bookshelf, olive jar, and gilt-framed picture on the wall behind the figures were all added to the larger canvas. The viewpoint differs slightly in each as well: it is as if the artist stepped back from his position in viewing the scene (or, really, inventing the scene) as found in The Met’s version to a broader view for the Barnes picture, which also grants more space around each figure.
Technical studies have shown that the painter not only used various studies of individual figures in composing his five oil paintings but also "rehearsed drawing his sitters before embarking upon more complex arrangements" (Burnstock, Hale, Campbell, and Macaro 2010). This conclusion was based on a comparison of the studies with the graphite underdrawing visible in images of the final paintings under infrared light. The studies often were not drawn to the same scale as the paintings, so they were used as more general visual aids for the freehand underdrawings, not for transferring forms in a systematic fashion. (For greater information on the studies for The Met’s painting, see Ireson and Wright, eds. 2010). Adjustments to the compositions continued through the painting process, with re-drawing still visible over paint to define the edges of forms at points. It is because of this continued use of drawing into the painting stage that conservators have called Cézanne’s technique in this series "unconventional" (Burnstock, Hale, Campbell, and Macaro 2010). For Cézanne, the process of creating, like the activity of his cardplayers stuck forever mid-game, was an endless one.
Jane R. Becker 2016
Emile Bernard, Letter to His Mother, February 5, 1904, reprinted in translation in Michael Doran, ed., Conversations with Cézanne, trans. Julie Lawrence Cochran, Berkeley, 2001, p. 26.
Robert Ratcliffe, "Cézanne’s Working Methods and their Theoretical Background," Ph.D. diss., Courtauld Institute of Art, University of London, 1960, pp. 19–20, 55, 387 n. 55.
J. Kirk T. Varnedoe in J. Kirk T. Varnedoe and Thomas P. Lee, eds., Gustave Caillebotte: A Retrospective Exhibition. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1976, p. 143.
Ambroise Vollard, Renoir: An Intimate Record, trans. Harold L. Van Doren and Randolph T. Weaver, New York, 1990, p. 53.
For all other citations, see References.
[Ambroise Vollard, Paris, ca. 1899–1900, stock book A, no. 3488; bought from the artist for Fr 250; sold on February 19, 1900, for Fr 4,500 to Bernheim-Jeune]; private collection of Josse and Gaston Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (1900–1930, when the brothers divided the collection; cat., 1919, vol. I, pl. 23, as "La Partie de cartes"; sold 1931 to Knoedler); [Knoedler, New York, 1931, stock no. A1377; sold in August for $85,000 to Clark]; Stephen C. Clark, New York (1931–d. 1960)
Paris. Bernheim-Jeune & Cie. "Exposition Cézanne," January 10–22, 1910, no. 47 (as "La partie de cartes," lent by MM. X . . .).
London. Grosvenor House. "Art français: Exposition d'art décoratif contemporain, 1800–1885," July 1914, no. 7 (lent by a private collection).
Paris. Bernheim-Jeune. "Exposition de peinture moderne," June 14–23, 1917, no. 4 (as "La partie de cartes").
Kunsthaus Zürich. "Französische Kunst des XIX. und XX. Jahrhunderts," October 5–November 14, 1917, no. 34 (as "Les joueurs de cartes," lent by the B.[ernheim-] J.[eune] collection).
Paris. Bernheim-Jeune. "Exposition Cézanne," December 1–18, 1920, no. 14 (as "Les joueurs de cartes," lent by MM. Bernheim-Jeune).
Paris. Bernheim-Jeune. "Rétrospective Paul Cézanne (1839–1906)," June 1–30, 1926, no. 39 (as "Les joueurs de cartes").
Berliner Künstlerhaus. "Erste Sonderausstellung in Berlin," January 9–mid-February 1927, no. 29 (lent by a private collection) [the exhibition was organized by the Galerien Thannhauser; see Meier-Graefe 1927].
Paris. Galerie Georges Petit. "Cent ans de peinture française," June 15–30, 1930, no. 28 (as "Les joueurs de cartes").
Art Institute of Chicago. "A Century of Progress," June 1–November 1, 1933, no. 307 (lent by Mr. Stephen C. Clark, New York).
San Francisco. California Palace of the Legion of Honor. "French Painting from the Fifteenth Century to the Present Day," June 8–July 8, 1934, no. 68 (lent by Mr. Stephen C. Clark, New York).
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Modern Works of Art," November 20, 1934–January 20, 1935, no. 6 (lent by a private collection).
Paris. Musée de l'Orangerie. "Cézanne," May–October 1936, no. 83 (lent by Stephen C. Clark, New York).
New York. Durand-Ruel. "Exhibition of Masterpieces by Cézanne," March 29–April 16, 1938, no. 17 [see Rewald 1996].
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Art in Our Time," May 10–September 30, 1939, no. 62 (lent by Stephen C. Clark, New York).
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Modern Masters from European and American Collections," January 26–March 24, 1940, no. 9 (lent by Stephen C. Clark, New York).
New York. World's Fair. "Masterpieces of Art: European & American Paintings, 1500–1900," May–October 1940, no. 340 (lent by Mr. Stephen C. Clark, New York).
New York. Paul Rosenberg & Co. "Paintings by Cézanne (1839–1906)," November 19–December 19, 1942, no. 14 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Clark).
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Art in Progress," May 24–October 15, 1944, unnumbered cat. (ill. p. 25; lent by Stephen C. Clark).
New York. Century Association. "Paintings from the Stephen C. Clark Collection," June 6–September 28, 1946, unnum. checklist.
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Cézanne," March 27–April 26, 1947, no. 45 (lent by Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Clark).
Art Institute of Chicago. "Cézanne: Paintings, Watercolors & Drawings," February 7–March 16, 1952, no. 79 (lent by Mr. Stephen C. Clark).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cézanne: Paintings, Watercolors & Drawings," April 4–May 18, 1952, no. 79.
New York. M. Knoedler & Co. "A Collectors Taste: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Clark," January 12–30, 1954, no. 11.
New York. Museum of Modern Art. "Paintings from Private Collections," May 31–September 5, 1955, no. 19 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).
New Haven. Yale University Art Gallery. "Pictures Collected by Yale Alumni," May 8–June 18, 1956, no. 111 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 1–September 1, 1958, no. 14 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 7–September 7, 1959, no. 8 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 6–September 4, 1960, no. 13 (lent by Stephen C. Clark).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "French Paintings from the Bequest of Stephen Clark," October 17, 1961–January 7, 1962, no catalogue.
Washington. Phillips Collection. "Cézanne," February 27–March 28, 1971, no. 18.
Art Institute of Chicago. "Cézanne," April 17–May 16, 1971, no. 18.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "Cézanne," June 1–July 3, 1971, no. 18.
Madrid. Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo. "Paul Cézanne," March 8–April 30, 1984, no. 40.
Leningrad [St. Petersburg]. State Hermitage Museum. "From Delacroix to Matisse," March 15–May 10, 1988, no. 35.
Moscow. Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts. "From Delacroix to Matisse," June 10–July 30, 1988, no. 35.
Williamstown. Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. "The Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings," June 4–September 4, 2006, no. 53.
Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. "The Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920," February 4–May 6, 2007, no. 80.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings: The Clark Brothers Collect," May 22–August 19, 2007, no. 53.
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Cézanne and Beyond," February 26–May 31, 2009, unnumbered cat. (pl. 210).
London. The Courtauld Gallery. "Cézanne's Card Players," October 21, 2010–January 16, 2011, no. 1.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Cézanne's Card Players," February 9–May 8, 2011, no. 1.
Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. "Cézanne and the Past: Tradition and Creativity," October 25, 2012–February 17, 2013, no. 125.
Marius-Ary Leblond. Apollon 1, part 1, no. 6 (1910), p. 99, ill. opp. p. 89.
Guillaume Apollinaire. "Exposition Cézanne (Galerie Bernheim)." Paris-Journal (January 20, 1910) [reprinted in Leroy C. Breunig, ed., "Apollinaire on Art: Essays and Reviews 1902–1918 by Guillaume Apollinaire," New York, 1972, p. 57], compares the figures' clothing to the draperies of Giotto.
Fritz Burger. Cézanne und Hodler: Einführung in die Probleme der Malerei der Gegenwart. Munich, 1913, vol. 1, pp. 90–91; vol. 2, pl. 72.
Charles Louis Borgmeyer. The Master Impressionists. Chicago, 1913, ill. p. 272, erroneously locates it in the Pellerin collection.
Cézanne. Paris, 1914, p. 71, pl. XLIII, locates it in a private collection.
Ambroise Vollard. Paul Cézanne. [Eng. ed., 1923]. Paris, 1914, p. 51, calls it a reduction of "The Card Players" in the Barnes Foundation, Merion, Penn. (V560, R706), which he dates 1892; mentions several studies for the individual figures.
T. Martin Wood. "The Grosvenor House Exhibition of French Art." International Studio 54 (November 1914), ill. p. 12.
Julius Meier-Graefe. Entwicklungsgeschichte der modernen Kunst. Vol. 3, 2nd ed. Munich, 1915, pl. 502, locates it in the Bernheim[-Jeune] collection, Paris.
Jacques-E[mile]. Blanche. Quatre-vingts ans de peinture libre 1880–1885. Paris, 1920, p. 15, no. 3, ill.
Joachim Gasquet. Cézanne. Paris, 1921, pp. 18, 45, ill. opp. p. 14 (color), recalls Cézanne often viewing the Le Nain "Card Players" in the Musée Granet, Aix; states that the artist staged the card players in his farmhouse kitchen.
Waldemar George in André Fontainas and Louis Vauxcelles. Histoire générale de l'art français de la révolution à nos jours. Paris, 1922, pp. 234–36, ill.
Georges Rivière. Le Maître Paul Cézanne. Paris, 1923, p. 218, ill. opp. p. 168, dates it 1890.
Tristan-L. Klingsor. Cézanne. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1923]. Paris, 1924, p. 38, pl. 32, calls it "Les Quatres joueurs de cartes" and refers to it as the last of four versions of the subject, also listing two versions with two figures (Musée d'Orsay, Paris, V558, R714; private collection, Switzerland, V556, R710) and one with five figures (Barnes Foundation, V560, R706); discusses the influence of Le Nain's "Card Players" (Musée Granet) and "Peasant Meal" (Musée du Louvre, Paris); notes that Cézanne had the same peasants pose many times for this series.
Lionello Venturi. Il gusto dei primitivi. Bologna, 1926, pp. 324–25, pl. 90, erroneously locates it in the Louvre.
Roger Fry. Cézanne: A Study of His Development. New York, 1927, pp. 26, 71–72, fig. 36, pl. XXVI, dates the series 1891–92; assumes that the figures and setting are based on an actual café in Aix.
Julius Meier-Graefe. Cézanne. London, 1927, p. 63, pl. XCVI, dates it 1892.
Max Osborn. "Klassiker der französischen Moderne die Galerien Thannhauser im Berliner Künstlerhaus." Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration 59 (March 1927), pp. 336, 339, ill.
Emil Waldmann. Die Kunst des Realismus und des Impressionismus im 19. Jahrhundert. Berlin, 1927, pp. 105, 499, ill., erroneously locates it in the Pellerin collection.
Julius Meier-Graefe. "Die Franzosen in Berlin." Der Cicerone 19 (January 1927), pp. 44, 51, ill. p. 56, notes that Berlin 1927 was organized by the Galerien Thannhauser and took place in the Berliner Künstlerhaus.
Kasimir Malevich. "An Analysis of New and Imitative Art (Paul Cézanne)." Nova Generatsiya no. 6 (1928) [reprinted in English transl. in Malevich, "Essays on Art 1915–1933," vol. 2, London, 1969, p. 30, fig. 1].
D. H. Lawrence. The Paintings of D. H. Lawrence. London, , unpaginated [reprinted in "Cézanne in Perspective," ed. Judith Wechsler, Englewood Cliffs, N.J., 1975, pp. 91–92], prefers the two-figure compositions of card players, calling the four-figure version [MMA] "just a trifle banal".
Eugenio d'Ors. Paul Cézanne. Paris, 1930, pp. 62–63.
Joachim Gasquet. Cézanne. Berlin, 1930, ill. opp. p. 12, dates it 1890.
M. Knoedler & Co., Inc. Letter to M. Knoedler & Co., Paris. February 16, 1932, states that the picture was purchased from Bernheim Jeune.
C. J. Bulliet. Art Masterpieces in a Century of Progress Fine Arts Exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1933, vol. 2, unpaginated, no. 62, ill., remarks that Cézanne knew Caravaggio's "Card Players".
A Century of Progress: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture Lent from American Collections. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago, 1933, p. 45, no. 307, pl. LX, dates it 1892; mentions studies for each of the three seated figures in this picture.
Georges Rivière. Cézanne: le peintre solitaire. Paris, 1933, pp. 137, 140, 145, ill., dates it 1890, calling it the first picture of the series; states that "le père Alexandre," who posed for the "Man with a Pipe" compositions (National Gallery, Washington, V566, R711; Courtauld Institute, London, V564, R712) also appears in "The Card Players".
"The Century of Progress Exhibition of the Fine Arts." Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago 27 (April–May 1933), pp. 66, 68, ill.
"Chicago Show to Present Modern Classics." Art News 31 (May 20, 1933), p. 4, ill.
"Individual Masterpieces." American Magazine of Art 26 (June 1933), p. 287, ill.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "Art in the Century of Progress." Fine Arts 20 (June 1933), ill. p. 36, dates it 1892.
"Cézanne Only Painter Given Whole Room." Art Digest 7 (May 15, 1933), p. 24, ill.
Alfred H. Barr Jr., ed. Modern Works of Art. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1934, pp. 11, 23, no. 6, pl. 6, dates it 1892.
Jerome Klein. "Museum of Modern Art Celebrates Anniversary." Baltimore Sun (December 30, 1934), p. ?, notes that it has never before been exhibited in New York and that it reveals Cézanne's imaginative breadth and the manner in which he made color an "intellectual end".
Lionello Venturi. "Cézanne." L'Arte 6 (September 1935), p. 394, fig. 21, states that it was painted in the winter of 1890–91 in Aix.
Lionello Venturi. Cézanne: son art—son oeuvre. Paris, 1936, vol. 1, pp. 59, 185–86, no. 559; vol. 2, pl. 177, no. 559, dates the series 1890–92, asserting that this picture and the Barnes Foundation version were probably painted before the other three; lists Etienne Bignou and Knoedler in the provenance but see Knoedler 1932 omitting Bignou.
René Huyghe. "Cézanne et son oeuvre." L'amour de l'art 17 (May 1936), fig. 65, lists all five works from the series, which he dates between 1890 and 1895 (this picture; Barnes Foundation, V560, R706; private collection, Switzerland, V556, R710; Courtauld Institute, V557, R713; Orsay, V558, R714).
Jacques de Laprade. "L'exposition Cézanne à l'Orangerie." Beaux-Arts no. 177 (May 22, 1936), pp. 1–2, ill., dates it about 1892, before the former Pellerin version (private collection, Switzerland; V556, R710).
Charles Sterling inCézanne. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1936, pp. 106–7, no. 83, pl. XV, considers this picture to be the first of the series, followed by the Barnes Foundation version (V560, R706), and then the two-figure compositions (V556–558, R710, 713–714).
René Huyghe. Cézanne. Paris, 1936, pp. 44, 57–58, fig. 41, dates it about 1892.
Fritz Novotny. Cézanne. Vienna, 1937, p. 19, unpaginated, under pl. 58, notes that according to Paul Alexis and Georges Rivière, the card players series was painted at the Jas de Bouffan about 1890–92.
Ambroise Vollard. Paul Cézanne: His Life and Art. [2nd English ed.]. New York, 1937, p. 47, pl. 6, erroneously locates it in the Pellerin collection.
Robert J. Goldwater. "Cézanne in America: The Master's Paintings in American Collections." Art News Annual, section I (The 1938 Annual), 36 (March 26, 1938), pp. 145, 156, ill., dates the series 1890–92.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "Cézanne: Intimate Exhibition. Twenty-one Paintings Shown for the Benefit of Hope Farm." Art News 36 (March 26, 1938), pp. 16, 30, ill.
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "Cézanne in New York." Burlington Magazine 72 (May 1938), p. 243.
Albert C. Barnes and Violette De Mazia. The Art of Cézanne. New York, 1939, p. 87 n. 76, pp. 271, 364, 415, no. 125, ill.
James W. Lane. "Thirty-three Masterpieces in a Modern Collection: Mr. Stephen C. Clark's Paintings by American and European Masters." Art News Annual 37 (February 25, 1939), pp. 133, 143, ill., dates it 1892.
Art in our Time. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1939, unpaginated, no. 62, ill., dates it 1892.
"One of the Greatest Exhibitions of Modern Art Ever Assembled." The Standard (August 19, 1939), p. ?, states that it is from the later years "when he became really Cézanne".
Alfred M. Frankfurter. "383 Masterpieces of Art." Art News (The 1940 Annual) 38 (May 25, 1940), p. 66.
"Important Cézanne Survey Staged as Benefit for Fighting French." Art Digest 17 (December 1, 1942), pp. 5, 17.
[Paul Rosenberg]. Paintings by Cézanne (1839–1906). Exh. cat., Paul Rosenberg & Co. New York, 1942, pp. 16–17, 29–30, no. 14, ill.
Erle Loran. Cézanne's Composition: Analysis of His Form with Diagrams and Photographs of His Motifs. [2nd ed., 1946]. Berkeley, 1943, p. 93.
Preface by Edward Alden Jewell inFrench Impressionists and Their Contemporaries Represented in American Collections. New York, 1944, ill. p. 116, dates it 1892.
Edward Alden Jewell. Paul Cézanne. New York, 1944, ill. p. 46, dates it 1890–92.
Lionello Venturi. Paul Cézanne Water Colours. 2nd ed. [1st ed. 1943]. Oxford, 1944, p. 19, reproduces a watercolor study for the figure seated at left in this picture (collection Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey McCormick, Chicago; V1085; Ref. Rewald 1983, no. 377).
John Rewald. The History of Impressionism. New York, 1946, ill. p. 410.
Introduction by Robert Witt. The Brothers Le Nain. Exh. cat., Toledo Museum of Art. Toledo, 1947, unpaginated, ill., illustrates it alongside Le Nain's "Peasant Meal" (Louvre).
Bernard Dorival. Cézanne. [English ed., 1948]. Paris, 1948, pp. 62–65, 166–67, pl. 125, dates the series 1890–92, placing this picture after the Barnes Foundation version (V560, R706) and before the two-figure versions (V556–558, R710, 713–714); agrees with Klingsor [Ref. 1924] that the series derives from the painting of the same subject in the Musée Granet, which he attributes to a student of Louis Le Nain.
John Rewald. Paul Cézanne: A Biography. New York, 1948, colorpl. III.
Alonzo Lansford. "Clark Collection Shown for Charity." Art Digest 22 (March 15, 1948), p. 9, notes that this picture can be seen at 46 East 70th Street when Clark opens his home to the public from April 1–3.
Howard Devree. "Stephen C. Clarks Open Art Show at Home to Help Fresh Air Association of St. John." New York Times (April 2, 1948), p. 21.
Liliane Guerry. Cézanne et l'expression de l'espace. [1st ed.; 2nd ed., 1966]. Paris, 1950, p. 196 n. 61, believes the MMA and Barnes Foundation pictures were probably painted first in the series.
James M. Carpenter. "Cézanne and Tradition." Art Bulletin 33 (September 1951), p. 179, fig. 6, compares the arbitrary darkening behind the face and arm of the seated player at the left in this picture to that of the figure on the right leaning forward in Rembrandt's etching, "Christ Preaching".
Bernard Myers. "Post-Impressionism: Foundations of Modern Painting." American Artist 15 (October 1951), p. 51, ill.
Daniel Catton Rich inCézanne: Paintings, Watercolors & Drawings. Exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago. [Chicago], 1952, p. 71, no. 79, ill., comments that although Cézanne may have been influenced by the Le Nain brothers, the "bulk and equilibrium" of the figures in this picture are unlike seventeenth-century art, and instead "return to the more distant sculptural simplicity of the Romanesque".
Benjamin Storey. "Retrospettiva Cézanne." Emporium 115 (May 1952), pp. 202–3, ill. (detail).
Dora Panofsky. "Gilles or Pierrot? Iconographic Notes on Watteau." Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., 39 (May–June 1952), p. 339, fig. 13, asserts that Cézanne based this composition on Caravaggio's "Christ at Emmaus" (National Gallery, London).
Theodore Rousseau Jr. "Cézanne as an Old Master." Art News 51 (April 1952), pp. 29, 33, ill., relates it to versions of this theme by the Le Nain brothers.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Miniatures: Paintings by Paul Cézanne. Vol. 35, New York, 1952, unpaginated, ill. (color).
James Fitzsimmons. "A Cézanne Exhibition, A Definition of Greatness." Art Digest 26 (February 15, 1952), p. 8, ill. p. 6.
Bernard Berenson. Caravaggio: His Incongruity and His Fame. London, 1953, pp. 23–24, pl. 37, compares it to Caravaggio's "Christ at Emmaus" (National Gallery, London).
Lawrence Gowing and Ronald Alley. An Exhibition of Paintings by Cézanne. Exh. cat., Royal Scottish Academy Building. Edinburgh, 1954, unpaginated, under no. 52, suggest that Cézanne began the card players series shortly after returning to Aix in autumn 1890, but worked on the pictures over several years; date the two-figure compositions after the MMA and Barnes Foundation versions; note that the left hand figure is the gardener, père Alexandre [see Ref. Rivière 1933].
Maurice Raynal. Cézanne. Lausanne, 1954, pp. 9, 91, 99–100, ill. (color).
Douglas Cooper. "Two Cézanne Exhibitions—II." Burlington Magazine 96 (December 1954), p. 380, agrees with Châtelet's [Ref. 1954] chronology of the series.
Albert Châtelet. Hommage à Cézanne. Exh. cat., Musée de l'Orangerie. Paris, 1954, pp. 21–22, under no. 55, asserts that the MMA and Barnes Foundation pictures were probably painted after the two-figure versions.
A Collector's Taste: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen C. Clark. Exh. cat., M. Knoedler & Co. New York, 1954, unpaginated, no. 11, ill., dates it 1890.
Introduction by Alfred H. Barr Jr. "Paintings from Private Collections." Museum of Modern Art Bulletin 22 (Summer 1955), pp. 11, 30, no. 19, ill. (installation photo).
James Thrall Soby. "Collectors' Choice." The Saturday Review (July 2, 1955), p. 34?.
Henri Perruchot. La Vie de Cézanne. [Paris], 1958, pp. 317–19, states that the Barnes Foundation picture (V560, R706) was painted first, then this work, followed by the three two-figure compositions (V556–558, R710, 713–14).
"Figure Composition." Artist 55 (August 1958), p. 113, ill.
John Rewald. Cézanne, Geffroy et Gasquet suivi de souvenirs sur Cézanne de Louis Aurenche et de lettres inédites. Paris, 1959, p. 34, fig. 11, dates it 1890–95.
Alfred Frankfurter. "Midas on Parnassus." Art News Annual 28 (1959), p. 39, ill., comments that the picture sold [to Clark] for $85,000 in 1931.
Stuart Preston. "Art: Gallic Flavor at the Metropolitan." New York Times (July 6, 1960), p. 29.
"Ninety-first Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year 1960–1961." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 20 (October 1961), pp. 42, 64, ill., dates it about 1892.
Yvon Taillandier. P. Cézanne. New York, , pp. 38, 54, 72, ill. (color).
Paul Cézanne, 1839–1906. Exh. cat., Osterreichische Galerie, Oberes Belvedere. Vienna, 1961, p. 27, under no. 33.
Stuart Preston. "Metropolitan Museum Displays Paintings and Drawings Received in 1960." New York Times (October 17, 1961), p. 47.
"Nouvelles acquisitions dans les musées durant l'année 1961." Chronique des arts et de la curiosité, supplément à la Gazette des beaux-arts, 6th ser., no. 1117 (February 1962), fig. 6.
Michael Levey. A Concise History of Painting from Giotto to Cézanne. London, 1962, p. 310, colorpl. 548.
Peter H. Feist. Paul Cézanne. Leipzig, 1963, pp. 33, 76, pl. 55, compares it to Daumier's "Card Players" (John Jay Whitney, New York), which Durand-Ruel exhibited in Paris in 1878.
W. G. Constable. Art Collecting in the United States of America. London, 1964, p. 171, fig. 32.
Kurt Badt. The Art of Cézanne. [German ed., 1956]. Berkeley, 1965, pp. 89, 93, 118–19, pl. 9, places the series in the following chronological order: Barnes Foundation (V560, R706), MMA (V559, R707), private collection, Switzerland (V556, R710), Courtauld Institute (V557, R713), and Orsay (V558, R714); disagrees with Fry's [Ref. 1927] suggestion that Cézanne executed these pictures in an actual café; relates the composition to a sketch in an 1859 letter from Cézanne to Zola, showing seated figures around a table before a skull; proposes that this sketch contains allusions to Cézanne's antagonistic relationship with his father and also inspired the Card Players series, in which cardplaying itself symbolizes modern painting.
Pierre Cabanne. "Le Bon Dieu de la peinture." Cézanne. [Paris], 1966, pp. 238–39, 270, fig. 164.
Charles Sterling and Margaretta M. Salinger. French Paintings: A Catalogue of the Collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 3, XIX–XX Centuries. New York, 1967, pp. 112–15, ill., date the series about 1892.
Margaretta M. Salinger. "Windows Open to Nature." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 27 (Summer 1968), unpaginated, ill., dates it about 1892.
Richard W. Murphy et al. The World of Cézanne: 1839–1906. New York, 1968, pp. 110–11, ill. (color).
H. H. Arnason. History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. New York, , pp. 46, 237, fig. 44, notes that Theo van Doesburg based his "Card Players" (1916–17; Gemeentemuseum, The Hague) on Cézanne.
Frank Elgar. Cézanne. New York, , pp. 136, 246, 279, fig. 87 (color).
Jack Lindsay. Cézanne: His Life and Art. Greenwich, Conn., 1969, pp. 246, 350, colorpl. II.
Sandra Orienti inL'opera completa di Cézanne. [French ed., 1975; English ed., 1985]. Milan, 1970, p. 115, no. 634, ill.
Wayne Andersen. Cézanne's Portrait Drawings. Cambridge, Mass., 1970, pp. 37, 39, 43 n. 2, pp. 229–30, fig. 31, based on studies for the series, proposes the chronology of the paintings as follows: Barnes Foundation (V560, R706), MMA, Courtauld Institute (V557, R713), private collection, Switzerland (V556, R710), and Orsay (V558, R714).
Adrien Chappuis. The Drawings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné. Greenwich, Conn., 1973, vol. 1, p. 61, under no. 37, pp. 248–50, under nos. 1083, 1091–92.
Meyer Schapiro. P. Cézanne. Paris, 1973, pp. 42–43, ill.
Fritz Erpel. Paul Cézanne. Berlin, 1973, pp. 42–43, no. 14, ill. (color).
Carl R. Baldwin. The Impressionist Epoch. Exh. brochure, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. [New York], 1974, p. 19.
Lydie Huyghe in René Huyghe. La Relève du réel: la peinture française au XIXe siècle: impressionnisme, symbolisme. Paris, 1974, pp. 216, 226, 435–36, fig. 185.
Theodore Reff inCézanne: The Late Work. Ed. William Rubin. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1977, pp. 17, 30, suggests that "Peasant with a Blue Blouse" (Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth; V687, R826) depicts the same model as the standing figure in this picture.
Alan C. Birnholz. "On the Meaning of Kazimir Malevich's 'White on White'." Art International 21 (January 1977), p. 10, fig. 4, comments that Malevich's "Chiropodist (at the Baths)" (1910; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam) was based on this picture.
Bram Dijkstra, ed. A Recognizable Image: William Carlos Williams on Art and Artists. New York, 1978, p. 180, fig. 28.
Colette de Ginestet and Catherine Pouillon. Jacques Villon: Les Estampes et les illustrations: catalogue raisonné. Paris, 1979, pp. 410–11, no. E 662, catalogues a reproductive aquatint (3 states) made by Villon after the painting in 1929.
Howard Hibbard. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1980, p. 430, fig. 795 (color), tentatively dates it about 1892.
Theodore Reff. "Cézanne's 'Cardplayers' and Their Sources." Arts Magazine 55 (November 1980), p. 106, fig. 4, discounts the supposed influence on Cézanne of a number of older paintings, including Le Nain's "Card Players" (Musée Granet), citing as more probable sources pictures by Teniers, Veronese, Chardin, Daumier, and Raffaelli.
Jean Arrouye. La Provence de Cézanne. Aix-en-Provence, 1982, pp. 68, 75, ill. (color), states that the models for this picture were farm workers at the Jas de Bouffan.
John Rewald. Paul Cézanne: The Watercolors, A Catalogue Raisonné. Boston, 1983, pp. 175–77, under nos. 377–79, discusses studies for the seated figures at left (Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey McCormick, Chicago; V1085) and right (Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; V1086); agrees that Cézanne probably painted the two-figure compositions after the MMA and Barnes versions.
Bruno Ely inCézanne au Musée d'Aix. Aix-en-Provence, 1984, p. 192, ill.
Paloma Esteban Leal. Paul Cézanne. Exh. cat., Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo. Madrid, 1984, pp. 150–53, no. 40, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Charles S. Moffett. Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1985, pp. 11, 198–99, 254, ill. (color, overall and detail).
Jill Anderson Kyle. "Cézanne's 'Les Joueurs de Cartes'." Master's thesis, Rice University, 1985, pp. ii, 1–3, 7–8, 12 n. 7, pp. 15, 17, 23, 25, 35, 38–39, 41–49, 51, 52 n. 105, p. 54 n. 128, pp. 62–63, 66–67, 76, 83–85, 94–95, 100, 103, 112–14, 118–23, 126–27, 139, fig. 2.
John Rewald. Cézanne: A Biography. New York, 1986, p. 277, ill. p. 200 (color).
Ronald Pickvance inCézanne. Exh. cat., Isetan Museum of Art. Tokyo, 1986, p. 68, ill.
Gary Tinterow et al. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Vol. 8, Modern Europe. New York, 1987, p. 53, colorpl. 33, date it early 1890s; call it a "still-life arrangement of peasants playing cards".
Dennis Farr and John House inImpressionist & Post-Impressionist Masterpieces: The Courtauld Collection. Exh. cat., Cleveland Museum of Art. New Haven, 1987, unpaginated, under no. 26.
Richard Kendall, ed. Cézanne by Himself: Drawings, Paintings, Writings. London, 1988, pp. 177, 315, ill. (color), dates it about 1892.
Fritz Erpel. Paul Cézanne. Berlin, 1988, p. 52, ill., dates it 1890–92.
Hajo Düchting. Paul Cézanne 1839–1906: Natur wird Kunst. Ed. Ingo F. Walther. [Engl. ed., 1999]. Cologne, 1990, pp. 42, 156, 160, 222, ill. (color).
Mary Louise Krumrine. Paul Cézanne: The Bathers. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts. Basel, 1990, p. 258 n. 76, p. 259 n. 9, p. 260 n. 31, p. 265 n. 9.
Seven Cézanne Paintings from the Auguste Pellerin Collection. Christie's, London. November 30, 1992, p. 46, under no. 16, fig 1 (color), discusses an oil study for the standing figure with a pipe.
Götz Adriani. Cézanne: Gemälde. Exh. cat., Kunsthalle Tübingen. Cologne, 1993, p. 201 n. 1 [English ed., 1995].
Charles Harrison. "Impressionism, Modernism and Originality." Modernity and Modernism: French Painting in the Nineteenth Century. New Haven, 1993, p. 155, pl. 146, dates it 1890.
Maria Teresa Benedetti. Cézanne. [Italian ed., 1995]. Paris, 1995, pp. 171, 189, ill. (color).
Jean-Jacques Lévêque. Paul Cézanne: Le précurseur de la modernité, 1839–1906. Paris, 1995, p. 155, ill. (color).
Ulrike Becks-Malorny. Paul Cézanne 1839–1906: Wegbereiter der Moderne. Cologne, 1995, pp. 62–63, ill. (color).
Joyce Medina. Cézanne and Modernism: The Poetics of Painting. Albany, 1995, pp. 153–54, 158, 161, 228 n. 8, interprets the central cardplayer in this picture as a self-portrait, suggesting that Cézanne based the composition on Paolo Veronese's "Supper at Emmaus" (Musée du Louvre, Paris) and replaced Christ with himself.
Stéphane Melchior-Durand. L'ABCdaire de Cézanne. Paris, 1995, p. 76.
Katharine Baetjer. European Paintings in The Metropolitan Museum of Art by Artists Born Before 1865: A Summary Catalogue. New York, 1995, p. 468, ill.
Joseph J. Rishel inCézanne. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. Philadelphia, 1996, pp. 335, 338, 345 [French ed., Paris, 1995, pp. 335, 341, 345], calls it "a replica reduction" of the Barnes picture.
John Rewald, in collaboration with Walter Feilchenfeldt, and Jayne Warman. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 10, 369, 409, 444–45, 491, 495, 563, 566–72, no. 707; vol. 2, p. 243, fig. 707, dates it 1890–92, and suggests that the series of card players was painted over an extended period of time, with the Barnes Foundation picture (1890–92; V560, R706) being the first, followed by the MMA picture, the private collection version (1892–93; V556, R710), the Courtauld version (1893–96; V557, R713), and lastly, the Orsay version (1893–96; V558, R714).
Richard Shone. "Cézanne." Burlington Magazine 138 (May 1996), p. 341.
Richard Verdi. "Looking for Cézanne in 'Cézanne'." Art Newspaper 7 (March 1996), p. 11.
Linda Nochlin. Cézanne's Portraits. Lincoln, Neb., 1996, p. 20.
Richard Kendall inThe Private Collection of Edgar Degas. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 1997, pp. 213–14, fig. 291, remarks that it bears an uncanny resemblance to Degas's "Henri Rouart and His Son Alexis" (1895–98; Neue Pinakothek, Munich), commenting that in both "the fuller figure of a seated man whose arms project in front of him is offset by a remote standing companion, the timeless passivity of the subjects in strange coexistence with their ordinariness"; mistakenly assigns accession number 61.101.2 to our painting.
Theodore Reff. "Cézanne et Chardin." Cézanne aujourd'hui. Paris, 1997, p. 18, compares it to Chardin's "House of Cards" (Louvre, Paris).
Mary Louise Krumrine. "Les 'Joueurs de cartes' de Cézanne: Un jeu de la vie." Cézanne aujourd'hui. Paris, 1997, pp. 65–66, fig. 24 (color), assigns symbolic significance to the instances of the number five in the series, represented here as the Roman numeral V, formed by the central card player's legs.
William Rubin inCézanne, Picasso, Braque: Der Beginn des kubistischen Stillebens. Ed. Katharina Schmidt. Exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Basel. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany, 1998, p. 85, fig. 19.
Christian Geelhaar inCézanne, Picasso, Braque: Der Beginn des kubistischen Stillebens. Ed. Katharina Schmidt. Exh. cat., Kunstmuseum Basel. Ostfildern-Ruit, Germany, 1998, p. 149.
Sylvie Patin. "Une étude peinte de Cézanne: 'Le joueur de cartes,' 1890–1892, donnée au musée d'Orsay." Revue des musées de France: Revue du Louvre 48 (February 1998), p. 22.
Mary Tompkins Lewis. "The Path to Les Lauves: A History of Cézanne's Studios." Atelier Cézanne. [Aix-en-Provence], 2002, p. 22.
Nina Maria Athanassoglou-Kallmyer. Cézanne and Provence: The Painter in His Culture. Chicago, 2003, pp. 28, 210–15, dates the series between 1892 and 1896; states that the setting was a room in the Jas de Bouffan "made to appear like a tavern"; suggests a link between this subject matter and government restrictions on gambling in the 1890s, which threatened the livelihood of card manufacturers in Provence, whose plight was championed by Cézanne's childhood friend, Victor Leydet, a socialist politician.
Jean Arrouye. "Les joueurs de cartes et paysans au Jas de Bouffan." Jas de Bouffan—Cézanne. Aix-en-Provence, 2004, pp. 141–44, fig. 125 (color).
Sarah Lees inThe Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, pp. 245, 248, 251, 315, 321, no. 53, fig. 181 (color), remarks that Clark "must have been pleased to obtain a work that, while much smaller, was fully the equal of the one in the well-known Barnes collection".
Gilbert T. Vincent and Sarah Lees inThe Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, pp. 156, 199 n. 154.
Neil Harris inThe Clark Brothers Collect: Impressionist and Early Modern Paintings. Exh. cat., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Williamstown, Mass., 2006, p. 201.
Gary Tinterow inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, p. 11.
Susan Alyson Stein inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, pp. 114–15, 187–88, no. 80, ill. (color and black and white).
Susan Alyson Stein inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, pp. 131, 222–23, no. 120, ill. (color and black and white), establishes the chronology of the series as Barnes Foundation (V560, R706), MMA, Courtauld (V557, R713), Orsay (V558, R714), and private collection (V556, R710).
John House inThe Courtauld Cézannes. Ed. Stephanie Buck et al. Exh. cat., Courtauld Gallery. London, 2008, pp. 90, 92–93, under no. 6, disagrees with Athanassoglou-Kallmyer (2003) regarding the relevance of a tax increase on playing-cards to the series; sees Cézanne's figures as representative of a traditional rural way of life then under threat and as a human counterpart to his landscapes of Provence.
Anabelle Kienle inCézanne and Beyond. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2009, p. 317, ill. p. 307 (color), notes that Max Beckmann may have seen this picture in 1927 at the Galerie Thannhauser, Berlin; compares it to Beckmann's "Artists with Vegetables (Four Men around a Table)" (1943, Washington University Gallery of Art, Saint Louis).
Richard Shiff inCézanne and Beyond. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2009, p. 62.
Joseph J. Rishel inCézanne and Beyond. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2009, p. 171, ill. (color), discusses the influence of Cézanne's figure paintings, such as this one, on Marsden Hartley.
Roberta Bernstein inCézanne and Beyond. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2009, pp. 467–68, 560 n. 12, notes the relevance of the table drawer in this picture for Jasper Johns's "Drawer" (1957; Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Waltham, Mass.).
Jean-François Chevrier inCézanne and Beyond. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 2009, p. 533, colorpl. 210.
Karin Sagner. Gustave Caillebotte: Neue Perspektiven des Impressionismus. Munich, 2009, p. 142, fig. 70 (color).
Richard Verdi. "Cézanne's 'Card players'." Burlington Magazine 152 (December 2010), pp. 816–17, fig. 41 (color).
Nancy Ireson and Barnaby Wright inCézanne's Card Players. Ed. Nancy Ireson and Barnaby Wright. Exh. cat., Courtauld Gallery. London, 2010, pp. 15–22, 25–29, ill. pp. 12–13 (color detail), comment that preparatory works "strongly suggest that Cézanne posed his peasant models individually in a studio" and devised the multi-figure compositions from the studies; note that the exact setting at the Jas de Bouffan cannot be determined; identify the figure on the left as Paulin Paulet, a gardener at the Jas.
Aviva Burnstock, Charlotte Hale, Caroline Campbell, and Gabriella Macaro inCézanne's Card Players. Ed. Nancy Ireson and Barnaby Wright. Exh. cat., Courtauld Gallery. London, 2010, pp. 35–53, figs. 16 (X-radiograph), 17, 19, 21 (digital infrared reflectogram details), based on technical analysis and consideration of the numerous single-figure studies, propose the following chronology for the series: MMA, Barnes (V560, R706), Orsay (V558, R714), private collection (V556, R710), and Courtauld (V557, R713), with the possibility that the sequence of the last two may be reversed; note that drawing was used to work out the compositions throughout the painting process.
John House inCézanne's Card Players. Ed. Nancy Ireson and Barnaby Wright. Exh. cat., Courtauld Gallery. London, 2010, pp. 54–55, 60–61, ill. (color detail).
Richard Shiff inCézanne's Card Players. Ed. Nancy Ireson and Barnaby Wright. Exh. cat., Courtauld Gallery. London, 2010, pp. 77–81, figs. 47, 50, 52 (color details).
Nancy Ireson inCézanne's Card Players. Ed. Nancy Ireson and Barnaby Wright. Exh. cat., Courtauld Gallery. London, 2010, pp. 94–104, 110–16, 136, 147, no. 1, ill. (color, overall and details) and back cover (color), dates it about 1890–92.
Laure-Caroline Semmer inCézanne's Card Players. Ed. Nancy Ireson and Barnaby Wright. Exh. cat., Courtauld Gallery. London, 2010, pp. 106, 109.
Nancy Ireson inCézanne and the Past: Tradition and Creativity. Exh. cat., Szépmüvészeti Múzeum. Budapest, 2012, pp. 75–78, 80, 500 n. 1, while accepting the order of the series presented by Burnstock et al. in London 2010, mistakenly places The Met's picture fourth (most likely due to an error in the catalogue number reference given for The Met's picture); discusses the importance of Cézanne's friend Antony Valabrègue to the painter's interest in the Le Nain brothers.
Judit Geskó inCézanne and the Past: Tradition and Creativity. Exh. cat., Szépmüvészeti Múzeum. Budapest, 2012, pp. 21–22, ill. (color), discusses the historical treatment of the card players series as still lifes rather than genre paintings.
Bruno Ely inCézanne and the Past: Tradition and Creativity. Exh. cat., Szépmüvészeti Múzeum. Budapest, 2012, p. 128.
Zsuzsa Gonda inCézanne and the Past: Tradition and Creativity. Exh. cat., Szépmüvészeti Múzeum. Budapest, 2012, pp. 424–25, no. 125, ill. (color).
Richard Rand inNineteenth-Century European Paintings at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute. Ed. Sarah Lees. Williamstown, Mass., 2012, vol. 1, p. xxi, mentions it as one of the few Cézannes Sterling Clark ever admired.
Denis Coutagne inCourbet / Cézanne: La vérité en peinture. Ed. Denis Coutagne. Exh. cat., Musée Gustave Courbet, Ornans. Lyons, 2013, pp. 26, 39 n. 24, p. 185.
Jean Colrat. Cézanne: Joindre les mains errantes de la nature. Paris, 2013, pp. 181, 183, 312–13, 316–17, 321–22, 324–25, 327, fig. 146 (color), discusses the compositional structure of Cézanne's various versions of the subject; calls it the last of five in the series; disagrees with Burnstock et al. 2010 regarding the conclusions to be drawn about the order of the series from technical analysis; links the compositional structure of a central trio with an observer behind to that of his "Grandes Baigneuses" (Great Bathers, 1895–1906); connects the figure with a pipe to the smoking observer in his "Déjeuner sur l'herbe" (Luncheon on the Grass, 1868–70, private collection) and to sketches from the 1860s that preceded it.
T. J. Clark inModernist Games: Cézanne and His Card Players. Ed. Satish Padiyar. London, 2013, pp. 15, 18, 21, 30–31, 33 nn. 1, 4, 17 [http://courtauld.org.uk/pdf/books-online/modernist-games/Modernist%20Games%20Chapter%201%20-%20TJ%20Clarke%20-%20Double%20Spread.pdf], states that the technical evidence presented in Burnstock, Hale, Campbell, and Macaro (2010) does not settle the question of the series' order; calls The Met's painting the first in the series.
André Dombrowski inModernist Games: Cézanne and His Card Players. Ed. Satish Padiyar. London, 2013, pp. 37–40, 43–45, 48–50, 52–53, 58, 60–61, 64–65 nn. 11, 14, fig. 2.5 (color detail) [http://courtauld.org.uk/pdf/books-online/modernist-games/Modernist%20Games%20Chapter%202%20-%20Andre%20Dombrowski%20-%20Double%20Spread.pdf], sees the series as an allegory of Cézanne's "artistic process and his post-perspectival pictorial spaces"; notes the fragmentary nature of the documentary evidence about the series; frames the series' theme of play around spatial ambiguities between flatness and three-dimensionality.
Gavin Parkinson inModernist Games: Cézanne and His Card Players. Ed. Satish Padiyar. London, 2013, pp. 92, 99 nn. 90, 92 [http://courtauld.org.uk/pdf/books-online/modernist-games/Modernist%20Games%20Chapter%203%20-%20Gavin%20Parkinson%20-%20Double%20Spread.pdf], notes that André Breton could have seen it in Paris 1936.
Charlotte de Mille inModernist Games: Cézanne and His Card Players. Ed. Satish Padiyar. London, 2013, pp. 111–12 [http://courtauld.org.uk/pdf/books-online/modernist-games/Modernist%20Games%20Chapter%204%20-%20Charlotte%20De%20Mille%20-%20Double%20Spread.pdf].
Satish Padiyar inModernist Games: Cézanne and His Card Players. Ed. Satish Padiyar. London, 2013, pp. 123, 130, 141, 146 n. 20, p. 147 n. 40, colorpl. 1 [http://courtauld.org.uk/pdf/books-online/modernist-games/Modernist%20Games%20Chapter%205%20-%20Satish%20Padiyar%20-%20Double%20Spread.pdf].
Margaret Iversen inModernist Games: Cézanne and His Card Players. Ed. Satish Padiyar. London, 2013, p. 155 [http://courtauld.org.uk/pdf/books-online/modernist-games/Modernist%20Games%20Chapter%206%20-%20Margaret%20Iversen%20-%20Double%20Spread.pdf].
Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jayne Warman, and David Nash. The Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings of Paul Cezanne: An Online Catalogue Raisonné. 2014–?, no. 680, ill. (color) [https://www.cezannecatalogue.com/catalogue/entry.php?id=685], date it 1891–92; illustrate five graphite and watercolor figure studies for the picture (FWN 678, 679, 1760, 1761, 1765); include Galerie E. Bignou in the provenance after Bernheim Jeune, but see Knoedler 1932.
Christopher Lloyd. Paul Cézanne: Drawings and Watercolors. Los Angeles, 2015, pp. 108, 124, colorpl. 74.
C. D. Dickerson III and Esther Bell inThe Brothers Le Nain: Painters of Seventeenth-Century France. Exh. cat., Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth. San Francisco, 2016, p. 330, fig. 57.1 (color), under no. 57, state that Cézanne's series was inspired by Antoine (?) Le Nain's "Card Players" (ca. 1640–45; Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence).
Kathryn Calley Galitz. The Metropolitan Museum of Art: Masterpiece Paintings. New York, 2016, p. 450, no. 406, ill. pp. 409, 450 (color).
Susan Alyson Stein inSeurat's Circus Sideshow. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2017, pp. 109, 111, 125 n. 16.
John Elderfield in John Elderfield Mary Morton and Xavier Rey. Cézanne Portraits. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Princeton, 2017, p. 37 n. 16, p. 167 n. 10, pp. 199, 204 n. 1, p. 252, fig. 79 (color).
Jayne Warman in John Elderfield Mary Morton and Xavier Rey. Cézanne Portraits. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Princeton, 2017, p. 241.
Mary Morton in John Elderfield Mary Morton and Xavier Rey. Cézanne Portraits. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay, Paris. Princeton, 2017, p. 153 n. 5.
John Elderfield inCézanne portraits. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 2017, p. 17 n. 15, p. 187 n. 10.
Mary Morton inCézanne portraits. Exh. cat., Musée d'Orsay. Paris, 2017, p. 171.
Jean Arrouye. "Les joueurs de cartes." Cezanne Jas de Bouffan: Art et histoire. Ed. Denis Coutagne and François Chédeville. Lyons, 2019, pp. 227, 232, 235–37, fig. 221 (color), compares its “iconographic economy” to the more "picturesque" qualities of the Barnes Foundation version.
Hans Janssen and Sjoerd van Faassen inCezanne to Malevich: Arcadia to Abstraction. Ed. Judit Geskó. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest. Budapest, 2021, pp. 124, 127 n. 56, fig. 8 (color).
Studies for this picture include an oil study of the standing man (private collection, Kansas City, Mo.; V563, R705), an oil study of the central seated figure (V568, R708; Worcester Art Museum, Mass.; V568, R708), a watercolor of the man seated at left (Mr. and Mrs. Chauncey McCormick, Chicago; V1085; Rewald 1983, no. 377), a watercolor of the man seated at right (Rhode Island School of Design, Providence; V1086; RWC1983, no. 379), and a drawing of this same figure (present location unknown; Chappuis 1973, no. 1092).
In preparation for the 2011 exhibition Cézanne's Card Players, organized in collaboration with the Courtauld Gallery, we investigated the creation of this series of masterpieces through technical examination.
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