Are Paul Cézanne’s Bathers meant to “disturb rather than delight” us? An article by Jack Flam in ARTnews discusses this idea. Cézanne’s organic use of color, line, and form were new techniques at the turn of the century and his abstract human forms are missing the flushed out detail that was common at the time. These disjointed and disproportioned figures alarmed art viewers. In fact, his bathers were even considered “ugly”, and Flam notes that in 1895 when Ambroise Vollard (a prominent 20th century French ART dealer) placed a small “Bathers” painting in his gallery window, a number of people were horrified by it.
Surely Cézanne was interested in changing the way people observed art. In fact, he said himself, “You must think. The eye is not enough; it needs to think as well.” His decision to paint nude human forms with blank faces and oddly proportioned bodies could have been an effort to provoke the viewer into thinking more about the figure as an artistic expression.
We find Cézanne’s Bathers to be both exquisite and thought-provoking. But, if you’re like us and can’t afford a real Cézanne, why not consider ARTprojectA’s Bath House Dawn by DUKE(right)? The somewhat abstracted human forms bring to mind Cézanne’s nudes and as an added unique element, it is painted on the back of a curved Victorian window. This would be a perfect piece for your bathroom or a pool house and ideal if you’re in a vacation house near water.
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