Still Life in Watercolors


Cezanne in the Studio: Still Life in Watercolors

Carol Armstrong


160 pages

PDF file size: 17.4 MB


In the last years of his life Paul Cézanne produced a stunning series of watercolors, many of them still lifes. Still Life with Blue Pot is one of these late masterpieces that is now in the collection of the Getty Museum.

In Cézanne in the Studio: Still Life in Watercolors, Carol Armstrong places this great painting within the context of Cézanne’s artistic and psychological development and of the history of the genre of still life in France. Still life—like the medium of watercolor—was traditionally considered to be “low” in the hierarchy of French academic paintings. Cézanne chose to ignore this hierarchy, creating monumental still-life watercolors that contained echoes of grand landscapes and even historical paintings in the manner of Poussin—the “highest” of classical art forms. In so doing he charged his still lifes with new meanings, both in terms of his own notoriously difficult personality and in the way he used the genre to explore the very process of looking at, and creating, art.

Carol Armstrong’s study is a fascinating exploration of the brilliant watercolor paintings that brought Cézanne’s career to a complex, and triumphant, conclusion. The book includes new photographic studies of the Getty’s painting that allow the reader to encounter this great watercolor as never before, in all of its richness and detail.

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
    Deborah Gribbon
  • Acknowledgements
    Lee Hendrix
  • Lenders to the Exhibition
  • Opening Lines
  • The Biography of Objects
  • The Landscape of Still Life
  • Picture and Sketch
  • Pencil Lines and Watercolors
  • Finishing Touches
  • Keys to Details
  • Index
  • Photography Credits

About the Authors

Carol Armstrong is Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, where she is also Doris Stevens Professor of Women’s Studies. Her most recent book is Manet Manette (2002).