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Paul Cezanne: Realization

The third period, in which Cezanne abandons impressionism and matures as an original artist, runs from 1878 to 1887, ending during the months of his marriage, his father's death, and the break with Zola. by now Cezanne had abandoned Paris except for an occasional short visit. From time to time he saw Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, and Zola, but in his preoccupation with new problems he began to withdraw from his
friends. After the show of 1878 he did not exhibit again with them. If Zola had been able to understand the work of his friend at this time he might not have said, as he did about 1880, that the misfortune of the impressionists was that no artist had achieved "powerfully and definitely" the possibilities inherent in the new painting. "They are all forerunners," he said of the impressionists. "The man of genius has not arisen."

Painting, Cezanne, year

The man of genius had arisen and was at work in the steady light of the south, solidifying the shifting, quivering effects of impressionism into something solid and durable like the art of the museums, and reconciling Poussin with nature. The transformation of Cezanne's art in this "constructive" or "classical" period is revealed by even a superficial comparison of The House of the Hanged Man with a View of Gardanne - a small town not far from Aix - where the houses rising on the steep slope are abstracted into a configuration of interlocking planes. If such a subject, like Corot's, seems half-readymade, with its blocky houses mounting up to the climax of the steepled church, it is largely because Cezanne's statement is so clear. In the hands of most painters the picturesqueness of the jumbled houses almost on top of one another would have been exaggerated by playing up the interest and variety of the very confusions Cezanne eliminates when he paints planes, not walls, and volumes.

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