French artist Paul Cezanne

About this essay

The House of the Hanged man at Auvers, 1872 – 1873, by Paul Cezanne. Why was this painting dismissed so scathingly by some critics when it was exhibited with the Independents in 1874? Paul Cezanne was a French artist and post-impressionist. (1839 – 1906) This essay seeks to determine why Paul Cezanne’s exhibited painting with the Independents 1874 of the Hanged man at Auvers, was dismissed harshly by critics. Cezanne’s style was different from all other artists in his field.

The painting may have suffered negative critique most likely for the reason; it could have been viewed as ambiguous and was misinterpreted.

(Reputations, Book 1. pg. 63) ‘Jean Prouvaire’ was one of the critics who were against Cezanne’s artwork. Who passionately expressed, no jury would ever imagine the possibility of accepting a single work by Cezanne. (Reputations, Book 1, pg.

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60) The delineation of the artwork could be viewed as awkward and difficult to construe. The painting is not adequately delineated.

The cottage looks as if it blends into a road or a path.

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It is difficult to interpret whether it is the cottage solely or besides it, it does have a road or path merged into the left side of the cottage. This state of immediate confusion could be one of the reasons why it was dismissed, as in the 19th Century this could have been challenging as other artists exercised unquestionable traditional principles and for those adhering and wanting to uphold traditional standards of artistic skills and ability, viewing Cezanne’s painting would have been without value. Reputations, Book 1, pg. 63)

The composition of the painting creates an incoherent illusion. It is hard to sense the broad and deep pictorial space looking at the picture. (Reputations, Book 1, pg. 61) The picture plane is angled to the left. The nearest vertical point contained by space is near the forefront of the picture, to the left. Most of the pictures content and definition is to the right of the picture’s scene. This perplexing composition could have been viewed in 1874 as hard to read, unattractive and difficult to receive.

At this time traditional ideologies of training concerning technique and composition were established in art. It is conceivable to relate to why the painting was rejected by some as this painting disregarded all of the set traditional principles. (Reputations, Book 1, pg. 59) Cezanne has definitely captured and delivered in bringing the spectator into his artwork. However the space is difficult to enter in comparison to the 17th Century artist Nicolas Poussin, whose artwork is more transparent and easier to emerge into the point of entry in his artwork. (Reputations, Book 1, pg. 75)

Cezanne’s painting consists of heavy thick brush strokes; it almost appears as if he was deliberately careless with his brush work. This may have prompted his painting to be judged so critically as the standards established by the Salon Painters at that time, were to have smooth, well blended brushwork. (Reputations, Book 1, pg. 67) Cezanne made no attempt to smooth out his brush works which led him to vastly stand out from his peers at that time and to some critics he may have been viewed as having lack of competence and technical skill, attributing to his painting being dismissed. (Reputations, Book 1, pg. 66)

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French artist Paul Cezanne. (2020, Jun 02). Retrieved from

French artist Paul Cezanne

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