Editor's Note: The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library released the following event announcement.
The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library welcomes back art history lecturer Linda Blair with a new series,Vincent van Gogh & Paul Cézanne. For many years now, Blair has been one of the Athenaeum’s most popular speakers.
Eighteen eighty-six: the year Paul Cezanne leaves Paris to return to the solitude of his native Provence... the year Vincent van Gogh arrives in Paris from his native Holland. For both artists, Paris was the crucible where they defined their artistic vision and refined their technical skills, yet ultimately the tumult and temptations of the city forced these two psychologically fragile painters to flee to the south of France, and there, in the sunbaked towns and lavender fields, each produced his greatest art.
Despite the shared geography of Provence, Van Gogh and Cezanne disdained each other’s work, and indeed, their art differs dramatically—in color, form, treatment of space, and brushwork. In fact, the contrast they offer leads to a deeper understanding of both: each throws the other into higher relief. The contrast also highlights the formal values of art, such as color, space, and form.
For Van Gogh, painting was a desperate means of reaching others—for loneliness, that is the hardest to bear—whereas Cezanne mistrusted all people. Van Gogh’s hallmark is color—color used to heighten the expressive power of art, but for Cezanne, color is secondary. Cezanne’s central concern is building forms that are elemental, immutable, and static, whereas Van Gogh’s forms are animated by a dancing, kinetic energy. Van Gogh dexterously and unerringly applied the pigment right out of the tube, or shaped it with the palette knife, the handle of his brush, even with his fingers, but for Cezanne each brushstroke represented an agonizing decision. A hallmark of Cezanne is his revolutionary exploration of spatial relationships; Van Gogh demonstrated little concern with the rendering of space.
This lecture series will examine their art, the role of art in their lives and the possible relationship between their burdened personalities and the art they produce. Both artists shed light on the creative process, Van Gogh due to the vast documentation provided by his letters, and Cezanne due to his stark and limited personality.
- Where: Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St., La Jolla, CA 92037
- When: 7:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 10 17, 24 and Oct. 1
- Tickets: $50 for members and $70 for nonmembers for the series. $14 for members and $19 for nonmembers for single events.
- Reservations: Call 858-454-5872 or online at ljathenaeum.org/lectures