Monday, June 12, 2006

Cezanne and aubergines

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Today we went to Aix for the Cézanne show. There were three highlights for me:

One was a painting I have been lucky enough to see before in Madrid (with less of a crowd) - a painting of his gardener. The man - identical to the one who served us our coffee in the café ‘Deux Garçons’ where Cezanne and Zola used to dine - almost floats on the extension of a bough like a melody, his left leg folded over his right continuing the phrase, whilst his right leg, an expression of the vertical; of harmony, is rooted in the earth he tends.

The second highlight was the last room - late paintings of the Mont Saint Victoire. To me there was a spiritual element to these paintings; a unity (“There’s as much blue in the green as there is green in the blue” said Julian about the earth and the sky). All was one and nothing was separate. Yet all was abstract. A note; a brushstroke….. a whole.

“The work in this room is the equivalent to Beethoven’s late quartets” said Julian.

The third highlight was a fuzzy photo in which Cézanne looked just like Yves.

It was wonderful to see these paintings not only in their home but in ours. They – sometimes quite simply of red earth and green trees - looked happy to be back where they were conceived.

We finished off the day stopping by the farmers’ market in Velleron. It was there that, amidst the shiny aubergines, baby flowering courgettes and sweet onions of each separate grower picked after noon that very day, we realised we had missed the still lives of the Maître and that another exhibit was surely due…..

We drove home to the red earth and green trees.

"Were you inspired?" I asked.
"Well, it's a bit like being a composer of jingles and hearing Beethoven. It's another world and no it isn't helpful in the slightest!" he replied.

For me perhaps it would be like hearing Steven Isserlis.....my cello hero and friend, who lives and breathes music and who fills my sound world with a feeling of expanse when I feel constricted or intimacy when I feel lost.....

...except Steven is alive and probably performing in a concert hall near you.

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8 Comments:

Blogger cheamyname said...

Madrid is beautiful and so is ur thoughts and memories.
Hope alls well.
If u get a chance pls visit my blog and comment on it.
All the best wishes.

11:39 PM  
Blogger Frances Mackay said...

Lovely photographs and thoughts. I particularly liked the Mothers' Day flowers. I could paint that! It is like a painting as it is. You certainly have a thing about aubergines. As I said, great photos. Frances

11:43 PM  
Blogger Lesley said...

You told Julian that he is definitely not a jingle composer, didn't you?

12:44 AM  
Blogger Dale said...

I'm glad he feels like a jingle composer when looking at Cezanne. What other response could be appropriate?

(A real jingle composer, of course, looks at Cezanne and says in his heart, "oh, I could have done that.")

9:33 PM  
Blogger granny p said...

Writers get the same feeling reading, say, George Eliot.

As for Cezanne...ah...Do you know the portrait of him by Pissaro in the National Gallery. CP has been rather unfavourably compared to Cezanne lately because of the Paris exhibition - he wasn't so world-changing for sure. But that portrait of C could BE a Cezanne; it's wonderful. Shame CP didn't do more people. His throw-away drawings of them are pretty good too.

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi ruth,
I enjoy your blog very much and your husband's paintings. thanks for all of it. Your photographs are great too. I was wondering what kind of camera you use. They seem to be a much better quality than the ones I take!

allison

6:50 PM  
Blogger ruth said...

hi allison, i use a (rather crappy now in its old age) nikon coolpix. I have to remember to lift the shutter as it gets stuck. I think what you are seeing is the light which is top o' the range!

i don't know the portrait granny p. more treats in store!

8:29 PM  
Blogger Anne & Kirk said...

Kirk and I enjoy your words, thoughts, and Julian's paintings each day. They get us through the days in between our visits to France :)
After having seen the Cezanne exhibit here in DC, we're looking forward to seeing it in Aix next month.
Thank you, fellow music, art, and France-lover-
Anne

9:13 PM  

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