I’ve read and admired Peter Schjedahl’s writings about art in the New Yorker for years. His recent article is entitled “The Lurchingly Uneven Portraits of Paul Cezanne” (New Yorker, April 9, 2018).

The piece is unhelpful to me as an amateur engaged in people painting. Schejedahl lingers at the level of pronouncements that hover above practice. In “Self-Portrait With Bowler Hat,” I’m interested in how Cezanne handles the beard with its glimpses of underlying flesh, and the peekaboo lips with their highlight. In “Madame Cezanne In a Red Dress” I’m interested in the sketchiness of her facial features and her severe hairdo.

Schejedahl has a formidable eye and range. I would welcome more brush-to-canvas observations from him now and then. How precisely did Cezanne fall short, from a painterly standpoint, in specific instances, according to this eminent, highly readable critic?

(Copyright 2018 James Mansfield Nichols. All rights reserved.)

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day, and watch Netflix and Prime Video for entertainment. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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