Exerpt from February 25, 1952 Life Magazine.
The Great Paintings of a Frustrated Recluse
Currently on display at the Chicago Art Institute, and soon to be seen at New York’s Metropolitan Museum, are 130 pictures by a man who holds a unique position in the history of modern painting, Paul Cézanne. Some critics consider him the greatest painter of the past 100 years. Even those who dissent from this high opinion consider him the most influential one. Cézanne, a Frenchman who did most of his painting between 1870 and 1900, was not only a painter; he was the creator of an entirely new method of looking at the world. And so widespread and subtle has been the influence of his method that the world, to civilized people, has never looked quite the same since. Many of Cézanne's paintings have an unfinished look about them, as if they were abandoned experiments. They depict mountains and apples that look as passionate as people, and people who look as inert as mountains or apples. Few of them constitute what the average man thinks of as a pretty picture. But nearly anyone who looks at them can sense great dig. nity and repose in their rugged brush strokes—a feel. ing of depth, weight and solidity. Part of this dignity and repose arises from the painter's way of transmuting natural objects into abstract forms, so that the observer senses cones, cubes and spheres beneath his mountains, houses and fruits. Artists have studied Cézanne's principles and evolved entire schools of painting—cubism, abstractionism—from them. There is hardly a department of contemporary art that does not owe him a debt. His carefully constructed scenes contain the germs of such widely separated developments as modern magazine layout and modern architecture.