A charming vintage 1950s reproduction of Cézanne's oil painting Self Portrait (1875-1877). The art plate (7 3/4" x 10 9/16") is hand tipped-in on a sheet of heavy paper. Title and information can be viewed by lifting the bottom right corner of the full color art plate. 

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) was a French artist and Post-Impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century.

Commentary on the work at time of printing:

"Needless to say, Cézanne's aim is not to make known to us his personality in this portrait; indeed he would regard any such self-revelation as pretentious and inept. He treats his face exactly as if it were a landscape or Still Life, all the elements of which are made to contribute to the structural harmony. In fact, in all his self-portraits he seems to regard the face as little more than a ground upon which he can try out his boldest, freest brushstrokes."

Commentary on the artist at time of printing:

"It was on a nineteenth of January that Cézanne was born. Skeptical as we may be regarding the influences of the stars on human destiny, it is undoubtedly a curious fact that under the same 'sign' were born Michelangelo, Dante, El Greco, Berlioz, Dostoievsky, Poe and Tolstoy, and all these men of high creative genius were rebels, in passionate revolt against their surroundings, endowed at once with a dramatic intensity of expression and with a profound feeling for architectural form.

Cézanne's temperament was akin to those of the men of genius named above. Even in his schooldays there were premonitions of the sturdy individualism so characteristic of his art. While capable of studying indefatigably, he was an unruly pupil, hypersensitive, and at the same time fond of outdoor activities-swimming, hunting, escapades into unfrequented corners of the French countryside. He could never come to terms with discipline.

Beginners are apt to press things to extremes and Cézanne was no exception; his early works are notable for their truculence and extravagant emotionalism, not to say unbridled sensuality. Their very titles are revealing: The Murder, Rape, The Rum Punch, Orgy. Naturally enough the Jury of the official Salon (of 1866) rejected these early works. Cezanne, however, was furious, and even lodged a protest with the Director of Fine Arts. Then, as might have been foreseen, he was drawn towards the one art movement of the time which seemed to cater for his taste for independence: towards Impressionism.

In 1862, he had made the acquaintance of Bazille, Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro and others of the group. But his new-found friends disappointed him; in his heart of hearts it was Delacroix and Courbet whom he cherished, and he quickly tired of aesthetic theories that he knew he could never share and of rules for which he could discern neither rhyme nor reason. Indeed Cézanne now swung round decisively to an uncompromising anti-impressionism. For his concept of painting was based on the sensation, which is the opposite of the impression. Also, he had no patience with the intellectual, schematic treatment of the thing seen, which characterizes Impressionism. Whereas the Impressionist analyses his subject, Cézanne synthesizes it instantaneously, in terms of his instinctual response. Nor does he merely see it with his eyes; his way of seeing it is more like that of a clairvoyant. This is why he never divides nature up into compartments according to the rules of classical perspective. The starting-point of his composition is a single, all-inclusive visual experience imparted by the scene before him; nor does he ever try to distribute its components in terms of any preconceived lay-out. If one particular element has struck him, it means that this was the initial stimulus of his sensation; he therefore assigns to it the leading part and, disregarding 'correct' perspective, treats it as the central theme of the picture he is making, its leit-motif, investing it with those mentally conceived dimensions which we find in the work of the Primitives, and which, later, bulked large in the programme of the Cubists.

There has been talk of the difficulty of understanding Cézanne's art, and complications have been read into it which are not there. For the truth of it is simple enough. Confronted by a scene which to others might mean absolutely nothing, Cezanne experiences a flash of revelation, an 'epiphany,' by grace of which he sees it invested with a host of particular and enthralling qualities, whether really there or (as often happens in such cases) born of his imagination. Thus what Cézanne gives us is always the rendering of imaginative, never a realistic, response to the scene he is portraying.
Indeed the best approach to Cézanne's art is to regard it as the work of a very great poet, one who is endowed with the noblest creative gifts and who, when standing before his canvas, not merely vividly recalls his initial visual experience, but permits himself the utmost freedom in bestowing on it all the elements of the sublime that he has seen, or thought to see, in it-even at the risk of deceiving himself, as sometimes happens when an artist is visited by such 'flashes of revelation.' Thus for Cézanne each canvas is a new venture into the unknown, in which he invents, imagines, almost every-thing. And this is why his work will never lose its eternal youth and why, not only does he command our admiration, but painters find, and will continue to find, in his art an inspiring example of never-failing inventiveness and creative freedom."