Paul Cézanne - Portrait of Anthony Valabregue 1866

Portrait of Anthony Valabregue 1866
Portrait of Anthony Valabregue
1866 116x98cm oil/canvas
National Gallery of Art, Washingon, DC, USA

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From National Gallery of Art, Washingon:
Working diligently to find his artistic voice in the first decade of his career, Cézanne often prevailed upon friends and relatives to act as models in his studio on the family estate in Aix-en-Provence. The poet and art historian Antony Valabrègue, who grew up with Cézanne in Aix, sat for the young artist several times in the 1860s.
Cézanne chose a fairly conventional format for this portrait a three-quarter-length figure with face turned slightly to the side, and plain backdrop but he executed it in a wholly radical manner. He eschewed the precise delineation of form, evidenced especially along the edges of the coat, where black pigment spills onto the gray of the background. Even more strikingly, he used a palette knife a blunt instrument normally used to mix paint to apply thick layers of pigment, achieving a ferocious, even crude effect seen, most obviously, in Valabrègue’s face. Even where the artist used a brush to form the tightly clenched fists, for instance, the handling is raw and turbulent.
As Cézanne eagerly anticipated, the work was rejected by the Salon of 1866. Thus he proudly joined the ranks of other insurgent artists who failed to get into the Salon that year, including Edouard Manet and Auguste Renoir.