Looking for the answer to Art Abstracts? The answer is Paul Cézanne’s Bathers (Les Baigneurs), which will be featured in this month’s Art After Noon program!
Oscar B. Jacobson, the museum’s first director, gave this lithograph to the museum in the 1930s. As a landscape painter, Jacobson was influenced by Cézanne’s interest in the tension between the flat surface of a two-dimensional art work and its illusion of depth.
Cézanne participated in the first (1874) and third (1877) Impressionist exhibitions. However, he wanted his paintings to reflect the order and structure of the visible world—rather than the fleeting moments of light and atmospheric conditions favored by the Impressionists. He painted with broad brushstrokes that seem to build the structure of the composition in an architectural manner. Cézanne made no attempt to hide these broad brushstrokes and therefore emphasized the tension between the landscape’s illusion of depth and the inherent flatness of the painting surface.
In the mid-1870s, Cézanne began to depict bathers in landscapes. This theme culminated with three large canvases, which are now in the National Gallery in London, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Barnes Collection.
This lithograph by Cézanne was the only one published of three he produced in the 1890s. It is also believed that he actually drew on the lithography stone himself, rather than having an assistant transfer the image from a drawing. The art dealer Ambrose Vollard published Bathers at the end of 1897 as part of an album including Impressionists such as Edouard Vuillard and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
If you are interested in learning more about this lithograph, or other works collected by Oscar B. Jacobson, please consider attending our monthly Art After Noon program.
Paul Cézanne (France, 1839-1906)
Bathers (Les Baigneurs), 1896-97
Lithograph, 9 x 11 inches
Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art, The University of Oklahoma, Norman
Gift of Oscar B. Jacobson, 1930s