Paul Cézanne - Flowers and fruit 1880

Flowers and fruit 1880
Flowers and fruit
1880-1885 46x38cm oil/canvas
Private Collection

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From Sotheby's auction house:
Cézanne's intimate depiction of Victor Chocquet (1821-1891) belongs to a rare group of works depicting his most important patron. Chocquet was the heir to a textile fortune and amassed one of the most significant collections of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art, including 33 works by Cézanne. John Rewald notes, “Victor Chocquet was without doubt one of the most engaging personalities among the small group of supporters gathered round the Impressionists in the early years of their struggle for recognition. Yet little is known about the man who Monet said was the only one he ever met ‘who truly loved painting with a passion,’ and whom Renoir naively but admiringly called ‘the greatest French collector since the kings, perhaps of the world since the Popes!’ In any case, he was certainly the first consistent buyer and champion of Cézanne’s work as well as his best friend outside the circle of companions of his young and of his Impressionist colleagues” (J. Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne, A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1996, p. 194).
Henri Loyrette describes this chain of events after viewing the first Impressionist exhibition, that lead to his meeting Cézanne: “He immediately commissioned Renoir to paint a portrait of his wife (1875, Staatsgalerie, Stuttgart), who posed in a light-colored dress in their apartment on the rue de Rivoli, sitting in front of an oil sketch by Delacroix. It was through Renoir that he met Cézanne: ‘As soon as I met Monsieur Chocquet, I thought about having him buy a Cézanne! I took him to Père Tanguy’s, where he bought a small Study of Nudes. He was delighted with his acquisition, and, while we were returning to his home, he remarked, ‘How well that will go between a Delacroix and a Courbet!" (F. Cachin, I. Cahn, W. Feilchenfeld & H. Loyrette & J. Rishel, Cézanne, Paris, 1996, p. 167).
Cézanne painted several portraits of Chocquet throughout his career, including earlier renderings from 1875-76. The present work is presumed to have been modeled after a photograph found in Cézanne's archives by his son, in which the sitter is wearing the same jacket and tie depicted in the painting. In addition to the present work, Cézanne painted another portrait of Victor Chocquet in 1880, a large and beautifully colored oil now in the permanent collection of the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio.