Friday, July 9, 2010

“Cézanne and American Modernism” or “How about them apples?”

I’ve been somewhat remiss in my review of the newest exhibit at the Phoenix Art Museum. Originally, I had planned to attend on the First Friday showing, July 2nd when admission is free from 6 to 10 p.m. but had to postpone to this past Wednesday when SRP hosts the admission from 3 to 9 p.m. Thus, the extra lateness of the post.

Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe I had exaggerated it in my head to the point that it was bound to disappoint. Regardless of the reason, I was disappointed. First, I was surprised at how small some of the paintings were. Then, after getting halfway around the room, I was surprised by how few actual Cézanne paintings there were. 16 Cézanne compared to 84 others.

Three main themes were represented.

1. The Bathers. One Cézanne and many versions of the same.

2. The Still Life Fruit. Two or three Cézanne and many, many versions of the same.

3. Landscapes of one particular view in Southern France. A handful of Cézanne and many, many, many versions of the same.

There were a few portraits. There were a few old photographs of Cézanne’s paintings. There were a scattering of a bit of this and that but, overall, meh.

One thing that I did enjoy was a small brochure from a Cézanne exhibition held after Cézanne had died. A painter whose name escapes me wrote all over the margins and pages of that brochure trying to analyze the paintings and journal of the experience to take back to his own studio later. It was most enlightening to read over 100 years later.

I’m sure I missed the point of the whole show. According to the video on the museum’s website, I did. However, I encourage you to go and see for yourself. You can’t go wrong with free admission!

If you go: “Cézanne and American Modernism” runs through September 26th. Hours and location are found on the website here.