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PAUL CéZANNE (1839-1906)
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)


Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
oil on canvas
6½ x 5¼ in. (16.5 x 13.3 cm.)
Painted in 1872-1873
Auguste Pellerin, Paris, and thence by descent to his daughter; sale, Christie's, New York, 8 November 1999, lot 134.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
L. Venturi, Cézanne, Son art - son oeuvre, vol. I, Paris, 1936, no. 1520B, p. 332 (illustrated vol. II, pl. 387, dated '1871-1872').
S. Orienti, The Complete Paintings of Cézanne, New York, 1976, no. 244, p. 96 (illustrated p. 97).
J. Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. I, New York, 1996, no. 181, p. 143 (illustrated vol. II, p. 62).
Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, Hommage à Paul Cézanne, July - September 1954, no. 21, p. 8.

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Giovanna Bertazzoni
Giovanna Bertazzoni

Lot Essay

Ascribed a date of circa 1872-1873 by both Lionello Venturi and John Rewald, Fillette is an early picture by Paul Cézanne that was formerly owned by Auguste Pellerin, one of the greatest collectors of his works; it is a tribute to the importance of this rare and unusual early painting and also to its charming content that it remained in the hands of his family, passing to his daughter, Madame René Lecomte. This tender scene in its gem-like format shows a girl surrounded by what seem to be abandoned toys, sitting in a contemplative mood in an outdoor corner. The flash of red of the ball on the ground adds a zest to this tight composition, contrasting with the more muted nuances of the scene. This picture provides a striking contrast to some of the more complex and tormented images that marked out much of Cézanne's early works; it is filled with light and delicacy.

The inspiration came to Cézanne from the old Masters, and certainly Fillette appears as though it could owe its inspiration to genre paintings from the period or to an earlier Dutch scene. The image of the girl clutching her hands together while pondering the accoutrements of her childhood recalls the pictures of the eighteenth century painter Jean-Baptiste Greuze in particular.

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