Three Colours: Cézanne introduces the life and work of the artist identified by presenter Matthew Collings as ‘the father of modern painting’.
The film takes the viewer on a journey through Cézanne’s often troubled life and career. The painter was a shy and reclusive figure whose immense talent was only widely recognised late on in his life. It may seem incredible to us today, but Paul Cézanne (1839 – 1906) did not even have an individual exhibition until the age of 53. By that stage he was so embittered and ambivalent towards the Parisian art world that he refused to attend.
Cézanne’s relationships with important figures like the writer Emile Zola and the painter Camille Pissarro are explored, alongside his unhappy marriage to Marie-Hortense Fiquet. The various stages of his work are also sensitively analysed, with the success of his painting seeming to stem, at least in part, from his own neuroses. Cézanne was painfully socially inept and this clouded his relationships with women, as well as with many of his Impressionist contemporaries.
The programme includes interviews with various important contemporary artists, including Howard Hodgkin and Bridget Reilly, who offer an insight in to the pervading influence of Cézanne. He was certainly of crucial importance to the development of Cubism, even being described by Picasso as ‘my only master’. Collings gives a thorough introduction to Cézanne’s life and work, exploring the lifelong artistic quest of this supremely gifted enigma.
Art Lives, from Arthaus, is a powerful and arresting series of documentaries on artists and art movements released for the first time on DVD in the English language.