PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
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PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
4 More
Property Sold to Benefit Museum Langmatt
PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)

Fruits et pot de gingembre

PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
Fruits et pot de gingembre
oil on canvas
13 1⁄8 x 18 3⁄8 in. (33.4 x 46.6 cm.)
Painted in 1890-1893
Ambroise Vollard, Paris (acquired from the artist).
(possibly) Galerie Paul Rosenberg, Paris.
Eugène Blot, Paris (possibly acquired from the above, by 1926).
Galerie M. Goldschmidt & Co., Frankfurt and Berlin, and L' Art Moderne S.A., Lucerne (jointly owned, September 1929).
Sidney and Jenny Brown, Baden (acquired from L’Art Moderne S.A., 5 November 1933, then by descent).
Stiftung Langmatt Sidney und Jenny Brown, Baden (bequest from the above, 1987).

Please note that the present work is being offered for sale pursuant to a settlement agreement between the current owner and heirs of Jacob Goldschmidt. The settlement agreement resolves the dispute over ownership of the work and title will pass to the successful bidder.
E. Bernard, "Les aquarelles de Cezanne" in L'Amour de l'art, vol. 5, no. 2, February 1924, p. 36 (illustrated; titled Nature morte).
De Telegraaf, vol. 41, no. 15.257, 19 February 1933, p. 12 (illustrated).
E. Blot, Histoire d'une collection de tableaux modernes: 50 ans de peinture, de 1882 à 1932, Paris, 1934, p. 37.
L. Venturi, Cezanne: Son art, son œuvre, Paris, 1936, vol. I, p. 193, no. 595 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 193; titled Fruits et pot paillé and dated 1890-1894).
J. Rewald, "A propos du catalogue raisonné de l'œuvre de Paul Cezanne et de la chronologie de cette œuvre" in La Renaissance, vol. 20, nos. 3-4, March-April 1937, p. 56.
S. Orienti, The Complete Paintings of Cezanne, New York, 1972, p. 123, no. 784 (illustrated, p. 122; titled Straw-Cased Jar and Plate with Fruit and dated 1890-1894).
J. Rewald, Paul Cezanne: The Watercolors, A Catalogue Raisonné, Boston, 1983, p. 28 (illustrated).
E. Maurer, "Kommentare zu: Stilleben" in Du, vol. 49, no. 9, September 1989, p. 25 (illustrated in color; titled Nature morte aux fruits et au pot paille and dated 1885-1890).
F. Deuchler, Die französischen Impressionisten und ihre Vorläufer, Baden, 1990, p. 86, no. 17 (illustrated in color, p. 87; dated 1885-1890 or 1895).
F. Kitschen, Cezanne: Stilleben, Ostfildern-Ruit, 1995, pp. 130 and 198, no. 44 (illustrated, p. 130; dated circa 1890).
J. Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cezanne: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1996, vol. I, p. 455, no. 736 (illustrated, vol. 2, p. 253).
E.-M. Preiswerk-Lösel, ed., Ein Haus für die Impressionisten: Das Museum Langmatt, Ostfildern-Ruit, 2001, pp. 174 and 258, no. 22 (illustrated in color, p. 175; illustrated again, p. 258).
P. Machotka, Cezanne: La sensation à l'œuvre, Marseille, 2008, vol. II, p. 189 (illustrated; illustrated in color, vol. I, fig. 297).
D. Coutagne and F. Chédeville, eds., Cezanne, Jas de Bouffan: Art et histoire, Lyon, 2019, p. 187 (illustrated in color, fig. 180).
G.P. and F. Dauberville, Paul Cezanne chez Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 2020, p. 236, no. 20 (illustrated, p. 237; illustrated in situ in the 1931 exhibition at Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., p. 124; titled Nature morte rouge).
W. Feilchenfeldt, J. Warman and D. Nash, The Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings of Paul Cezanne: An Online Catalogue Raisonné (, no. FWN 840 (illustrated in color).
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paul Cezanne (au profit de la caisse du monument Cezanne), March 1924.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Rétrospective Paul Cezanne au profit de la caisse du Monument Cézanne, June 1926.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., 6ème rétrospective Cezanne, May 1931.
Paris, Galerie Durand-Ruel et Cie., Fleurs et natures mortes, December 1931, no. 9.
Amsterdam, Kunsthandel J. Goudstikker, Tentoonstelling "Het stilleven," ten bate van de Vereeniging Rembrandt, February-March 1933, no. 49 (illustrated, fig. 77; titled Tafel met appels, peren, een gemberpot, enz and dated circa 1888).
Rotterdam, Museum Boymans, Tentoonstelling van 115 Stillevens: 1480-1933, April 1933, p. 11, no. 15 (illustrated, fig. XVI; titled Tafel met appels, peren, een gemberpot, enz and dated circa 1888).
Casino Luxembourg, Luxe, calme et volupté: Regards sur le Post-Impressionnisme, collectionneurs à Winterthur et Baden au début du XXe siècle, January-March 1995, p. 215, no. 30 (illustrated; titled Fruits et pot paillé and dated 1890-1894).
Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Classic Cezanne, November 1998-February 1999, p. 182, no. 13 (illustrated in color).
Bologna, Galleria d'Arte Moderna, La natura della natura morta: Da Manet ai nostri giorni, December 2001-February 2002, pp. 59 and 242, no. 8 (illustrated in color, p. 59; detail illustrated in color on the cover).
Philadelphia, The Barnes Foundation and Ontario, The Art Gallery of Hamilton, The World is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cezanne, June 2014-February 2015, pp. 73 and 235 (illustrated in color, pp. 72-73, pl. 8; illustrated again in color, p. 235).
Baden, Museum Langmatt, Herzkammer: 30 Jahre Langmatt, March-August 2020, pp. 118-122 (illustrated in color, pp. 120-121).

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Emily Kaplan
Emily Kaplan Senior Vice President, Senior Specialist, Co-Head of 20th Century Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Filled with a rich, internal balance, Fruits et pot de gingembre is one of a select group of canvases from the late 1880s and early 1890s in which Paul Cezanne reached a high point in his treatment of the still life. Exhibiting a new complexity and sophistication in his approach to form, color and space, these compositions occupy an important position within the evolution of his painting, inaugurating the series of “symphonic” still lifes that serve today—along with the artist’s late bathers and his views of Mont Sainte-Victoire—as a signature emblem of Cezanne’s revolutionary vision.
For an artist obsessed by the act—and art—of looking and subsequently transcribing this vision and sensation into two-dimensional form, the still-life genre was the perfect vehicle for Cezanne’s artistic pursuits. As a solitary and methodical worker, it enabled him to arrange his everyday objects in precisely the positions he required, without concern as to the number of “sittings” involved: once the fruit, pots and tablecloth were arranged to his satisfaction, he was at liberty to explore and record his “sensations” thoroughly. “I proceed very slowly,” Cezanne once explained, “for nature reveals herself to me in a very complex form, and constant progress must be made. One must see one’s model correctly and experience it in the right way, and furthermore, express oneself with distinction and strength” (quoted in J. Rewald, Cezanne, A Biography, New York, 1986, p. 159).
Such sustained contemplation allowed Cezanne’s approach to evolve gradually as he worked—seeing new possibilities in the composition, he responded directly to the interactions and layering of colors on the canvas, and repeatedly reassessed the overall harmony and effect of the painting as it developed. From elaborate arrangements of fruits, objects, and patterned fabrics, to depictions of isolated apples or vibrant bouquets of flowers, the still life offered Cezanne a way of probing the boundaries of illusionism, exploring the relationships between one object and another, between the viewer and the painting, as well as the properties of paint itself. As Emile Bernard wrote, Cezanne “needed time to push [the limits of his medium], and it was in front of skulls, in front of green fruits or paper flowers that he found it” (quoted in B. Leca, ed., The World is an Apple: The Still Lifes of Paul Cezanne, exh. cat., The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia, 2014, pp. 80-82).
“Cezanne worked through representational problems—one might even say looked at the whole world—through the lens of still life,” Benedict Leca and Denis Coutagne have written (ibid., p. 21). The artist’s studio became a kind of laboratory—simple fruits and rustic tableware provided the chief objects of his research, humble props that belie the enormous complexity and inventiveness of these works. In many, apples, pears, melons, oranges, peaches and pomegranates take center stage, their varying textures and surfaces eloquently captured through delicate plays of color and tone. Far from a chance arrangement captured in passing, though, every aspect of Cezanne’s still-life compositions would have been meticulously planned. As Maurice Denis explained, “He composed his still lifes, varying by design the lines and the masses, positioning the draperies according to premeditated rhythms, avoiding the accidents of chance, looking for plastic beauty, but without losing anything of the true motif” (quoted in ibid., p. 68).
In 1898, just a few short years after he completed Fruits et pot de gingembre, Cezanne received a visit from a young, aspiring artist named Louis Le Bail, who left a remarkable record of the way that “the new master of still life” (as the esteemed critic Thadée Natanson had recently dubbed him) composed his scenes. “Cezanne arranged the fruits, contrasting the tones one against the other, making the complementaries vibrate, the greens against the reds, the yellows against the blues, tipping, turning, balancing the fruits as he wanted them to be using coins of one or two sous for the purpose,” Le Bail wrote. “He brought to this task the greatest care and many precautions; one guessed that it was a feast for the eye to him” (quoted in G. Adriani, Cezanne Paintings, exh. cat., Kunsthalle, Tübingen, 1993, p. 172).
In Fruits et pot de gingembre, Cezanne explores an assortment of globular forms—a wicker-wrapped ginger jar, a large pomegranate, three apples, and a pear—and set himself the challenge of constructing from them a harmoniously unified whole. He positioned the pomegranate in the center of the composition on a subtly tilted white saucer, accentuating the elemental roundness of the fruit. At far left, a golden apple—its underside meeting the viewer’s gaze—lies set apart, its spherically volumetric form contrasting with the stiffly angular peaks and valleys of folds in the white table cloth. The ginger jar, a familiar leitmotif within Cezanne’s still-life paintings of these years, anchors this grouping of objects, its generously rounded shape and open mouth generating a complex rhythm of curve and counter-curve. The wooden tabletop extends the full width of the canvas, filling the picture plane, while the remaining trio of fruits are arranged loosely across its surface in a receding arc, counterbalancing the objects on the opposite end of the table.
Behind the central grouping, Cezanne offers a glimpse into the space in which he worked, most likely the studio he had established at his parents’ estate, Le Jas de Bouffan, on the outskirts of Aix. Conjuring an exceptionally deep and complex space through carefully positioned planes of color, he allows a series of intentionally mysterious ambiguities to infiltrate the scene. Behind the ginger jar, the studio's iron stove is just discernible, rendered on an unexpectedly small scale—situated, apparently, at some distance from the table. The ocher-colored planes behind the pomegranate, which seem to alternately recede from and project toward the tabletop, represent the reverse of a tall, decorative screen that the artist kept in his studio. A cluster of thin rectangular objects to the right hand edge of the composition, meanwhile, appear to lean against this folding screen at a more dramatic angle, and may represent a group of books seen stacked on a nearby shelf in other still lifes from this period. Extracting the essential forms of each element, Cezanne distils these objects into an abstract armature of rectilinear contours that frames the still life, lending the composition a sense of structure and depth, while the exact details remain elusive.
For Cezanne, the intrigue of such still-life scenes was rooted in the relationships and internal tensions that arose between his chosen objects. “There’s talk going on between them,” he explained. “Endless confidences… Objects enter into each other… They never stop living, you understand… Imperceptibly they extend beyond themselves through intimate reflections, as we do by looks and words” (quoted in R. Schiff, Joachim Gasquet’s Cezanne: A Memoir with Conversations, London, 1991, p. 220). As a result, he typically focused on a limited repertoire of objects, revisiting a select group of items in slightly different configurations across several canvases. As John Rewald has noted, “Cezanne showed a superb inventiveness when, using more or less the same objects, he assembled several series of still lifes in which each of these objects plays a completely different role. Without repeating the arrangements, he managed, quite to the contrary, to achieve a new balance and a new harmony of colors by shifting the familiar objects and regrouping them in an astonishing variety of compositions” (in op. cit., 1986, p. 181).
Indeed, Fruits et pot de gingembre shares a number of common elements with two other oil paintings from the same period, Nature morte au crâne (FWN, no. 838; The Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia) and Pot de gingembre (FWN, no. 839; The Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.), as well as an earlier watercolor, Pot de gingembre avec fruits et nappe from circa 1888-1890 (FWN, no. 1942; Private collection). While all explore a similar grouping of fruit, fabric and objects across the same wooden table, Fruits et pot de gingembre is closest in both arrangement and structure to Pot de gingembre from the Phillips Collection. Both contain the same folds in the fabric of the white table cloth—one sharp, pointed peak sticks up vertically to the left of the golden apple, while to the right, a soft, looping horizontal fold curves in a sinuous arabesque from the piece of fruit—as well as the central pairing of the pomegranate and the ginger jar. However, in Fruits et pot de gingembre, Cezanne zooms in on the cluster of objects atop the table, bringing the viewer closer to the central grouping of objects and granting them a greater monumentality within the scene.
This heightened focus on the still life at the center of the composition also allows us to appreciate the manner in which Cezanne has rendered each piece of fruit as a singular entity, a unique object with its own palpable weight, subtly irregular shape, and exquisitely fine gradations of color. The golden apple to the far left, for instance, is a radiant yellow hue and almost perfectly spherical, while in contrast, the pair of apples to the right include soft touches of spring green and pops of bright scarlet, their contours slightly misshapen. Similarly, the surface of the pomegranate is a rich study in gently modulated color, its plump, rounded form modelled through a densely layered series of tonal gradations that describe the play of light and shadow across the piece of fruit. Revealing the complexity of Cezanne’s mature color practice at this point in his career, these concentrated studies of tone and hue are contained within an overall color scheme that centers on the play of soft golden ocher against a lavender-hued blue within the scene. “In my ideal of good painting there’s a unity,” Cezanne once stated. “The drawing and the color are no longer distinct; as soon as you paint you draw; the more the colors harmonize, the more precise the drawing becomes. When the color is at its richest, the form is at its fullest. Contrast and relationship of colors—that’s the secret of drawing and modelling” (R. Schiff, op. cit., 1991, p. 221).
While the pomegranate and apples have been realized complete in Fruits et pot de gingembre, the pear at far right appears to be taking shape as we gaze upon it, it’s outline almost reverberating via a series of delicate, broken brushstrokes. The seeming uncertainty of this outline gives the impression that this quotidian piece of fruit is vibrating, drawing attention to the individual strokes of pigment that Cezanne has used to construct its form. In such passages the artist’s painterly process is made clearly visible, each touch of paint imbuing the composition with an internal energy, while also highlighting the presence of the figure behind the brush. Playing with such seemingly unresolved forms, Cezanne allows the viewer a glimpse into his unique approach to such subjects. “This is Cezanne’s peculiar way of showing how his eye traveled over the objects in his studio in tandem with his hand traveling over his painting,” Carol Armstrong has explained, “as he attempted to bring those objects into being, in time rather than all at once, on the surface of his canvas. And then he invited the viewer’s eye to share vicariously in that temporal development of shifting edges and mobile contours, changing points of view, and kinetic moments of almost tactile contact” (in A. Dombrowski, N. Ireson and S. Patry, eds., Cezanne in the Barnes Foundation, New York, 2021, p. 232).
Cezanne’s still-life paintings would have a profound impact on generations of young artists through the early twentieth century. As the critic André Pératé noted following a visit to the important retrospective dedicated to the artist in 1907, these works were central to Cezanne’s legacy: “The consciousness of [Cezanne’s] craftmanship is everywhere apparent in the still lifes, where it seems the sense of sight has been transformed for us into that of touch,” he wrote. “This fruit on a plate, these beautiful apples in sparkling reds, greens and yellows, these acid grapes, these red onions, a plate, a faience compotier, a glazed stoneware pot, a black marble clock, here are things that exist and endure” (quoted in Cezanne, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1996, p. 399). Indeed, the influence of Cezanne’s radical rethinking of the genre can be detected in everything from the vibrantly colored still lifes of the Fauves, to the pioneering Cubist tabletop scenes created by Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso. Cezanne’s still life paintings were an important touchstone for Henri Matisse throughout his career, the internal tensions and intriguing compositional structuring influencing his creative vision in works such as Nature Morte: fruits sur fond rose (National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.). As Matisse eloquently explained, “If you only knew the moral strength, the encouragement that Cezanne’s remarkable example gave me all my life. In moments of doubt, when I was still searching for myself, frightened sometimes by my discoveries, I thought, ‘If Cezanne is right, I am right,’ because I knew that Cezanne made no mistake” (quoted in Y-A. Bois, “Cezanne and Matisse: From Apprenticeship to Creative Misreading,” in Cezanne and Beyond, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2009, p. 104).

Jacob Goldschmidt (1896-1976), a former owner of the present work, joined the Frankfurt family art dealership Galerie M. Goldschmidt & Co.—founded by his father, Marcel—in 1923. He ran the business, with branches in Berlin and Hamburg, in partnership with his brother-in-law Moritz Gutmann (1892-1980) until late 1932, when Moritz established himself independently in Berlin. The gallery had an extensive network of similarly renowned art dealers, including Galerie Thannhauser and Kunstsalon Paul Cassirer.
After the Nazi government came to power in January 1933, Jacob Goldschmidt and his family, who were Jewish, faced the increasingly persecutory measures imposed. A boycott of Jewish businesses in Frankfurt in early 1933 impacted the gallery heavily, and from 1934 Goldschmidt was unable to continue in his profession under the strictures of the Reich’s Chamber of Culture. He moved out of the gallery’s premises on Bockenheimer Landstrasse to his mother Hedwig’s apartment this same year, where, with her help, he tried to clear the remaining works from his stock. He eventually left Germany for France in 1936, having paid the ever more punitive 'flight tax.' With the outbreak of war, Goldschmidt was interned in France from 1939 to 1941, before managing to flee to the United States, where he re-established himself as an art dealer. Moritz Gutmann likewise fled Germany, arriving in the United States in 1936 and establishing the French Art Galleries in New York in 1937. Jacob Goldschmidt's mother, Hedwig, also survived the Holocaust, as did her daughter Grete, but daughters Nelly, Else and Else's husband, Siegfried, did not.

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