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Yesterday I made the pilgrimage to London to see the Cezanne exhibition (the much hyped exhibition)

Yes, there were a lot of people as expected and some queuing to see the pictures as talked about.

What I wasn’t expecting was the inconsistency. Bear in mind that I photographed pieces I like that resonated with me in some good way – so I’m not showcasing here the works I thought best left in the development portfolio.

But let me try to explain.

Maybe it’s because I only think of Cezanne as the painter who painted post-impressionist landscapes and not as an artist who (pre-impressionism) practised, experimented and honed a style, that I found the work displayed jarring.

The Bathers – I loved this piece – it really shows beautifully how the same style and direction of brush-marks used on both the foliage and the flesh serve to meld one into the other making the people part of the landscape. In this way (style) I like his figure work.

Not being able to see the date cards (and therefore an explanation of repeated attempts to tackle a thing) didn’t help the experience that here was one very fine work of art sat next to two or three less fine works of art – mostly his figure work.

Perhaps we were being shown how he worked away tenaciously at a subject until he found his unique approach?

But I found the way it was hung left me feeling like Cezanne didn’t hit his stride but kept trying new approaches of media and style and is not the Cezanne that I thought he was.

One of my solid favourites for years, A Bend In the Road is one I love because it has such a pleasing composition.

There were a few absolute treasures that shone out from across the gallery for their clever composition or luminosity or colour palette.

In real life this painting glowed and is so beautifully and lightly handled that you feel as if you can walk into it.

Which made it all the harder to see the stuff which maybe didn’t reflect him at his best.

It was a huge show with many rooms and a lot of paintings but I wonder if some further editing of images or better explanation might have helped me appreciate what Cezanne was working towards, better.

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