Apples and Oranges

by Pericles Lewis

In the still-life “Apples and Oranges” (ca. 1895-1900), Paul Cézanne offers an example of how the interplay of colors and planes on the surface of a canvas can take on greater importance than the ostensible “subject” of the painting. Cézanne’s ambition to “make out of Impressionism something solid and lasting like the art of the museums,” led him to emphasize the design of a painting, as a pattern made up of simplified forms, often outlined with dark contours, and to break the rules of perspective.[1] Thus, in "Apples and Oranges," the table and the two dishes of fruit look as if they have each been painted from a different perspective.[2]

  1. Quoted in Joachim Gasquet, Joachim Gasquet’s Cézanne, trans. Christopher Pemberton (New York: Thames and Hudson, 1991), p. 164.
  2. This page has been adapted from Pericles Lewis's Cambridge Introduction to Modernism (Cambridge UP, 2007), p. 51.