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My Love Affair With Cezanne's Cardplayers

There are many, many museums in the city and I love to visit the art museums to see the exhibits and sketch from the Masters.  We saw a Leon Kossoff drawing exhibit at the National Gallery in London (2007) and I was impressed with his return visits to sketch the same few works by Masters many times during his career.  

I thought it might be fun to try this, in part to see how my art skills evolve and how my familiarity with the painting may change my drawing over time.  On my first visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2008, I sat in front of Cezanne's Card Players and sketched it.

I sketched it annually and then sketched many of the preparatory paintings in a big 2011 Cardplayer exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.   

 Cezanne did 5 oil paintings of the Cardplayers - one with 5 figures, one with 4 (owned by the Met), and 3 with two figures.  The 2011 exhibit at the Met was unable to reunite all 5, but there were many preparatory drawings and paintings of individual figures.  I sketched some of them on 3 occasions.

I was thrilled to learn that a previously unseen preparatory watercolor of Paulin Paulet, a gardener from Cezanne's family estate, was being auctioned at Christie's NY by a private collector.  He is the only figure that appears in all 5 paintings.  There was a full page picture of the painting in the NY Times on Friday and I painted it in my sketchbook.


On Saturday, at the auction preview, while many people were viewing the painting, I sketched the head again with a watercolor pencil.  I may never get the head tilted like Cezanne!


And then waited until I could get an angle for a photo without reflections of the spotlights.


Last night this watercolor sold for $19.1 million dollars!! 




I have never seen this Cezanne sketch before - isn't it lovely! And so is your 'sketch of the sketch'. Even if you have not yet managed the identical tilt to the head, you have most certainly capture the mood of the piece.

It never ceases to amaze me what the masters were able to achieve with such minimal lines, shading, and colors. I'm so glad you were able to get a photo of the painting as I've never seen it before. Your study of it is a good one, but I know how hard it is to get the exact angles and tilts! It frustrates me no end. nancy

Beautiful sketches and watercolors. It is hard to believe that one painting can be sold for that much money. Too bad Cezanne didn't get hose kind of payments when he made the paintings!
Aloha, Kate

What a great idea to revisit master works! Good sketch, and I feel like I learned some art history, too. Thanks!

It's interesting how you have been drawn to those paintings? Nice work.

Wow, that's a lot of money! I saw your first sketch through the link you provided. You've come a long way in your sketching! With this series you can see that better probably than simply through an olio (I do crosswords and that word comes up all the time; now I could use it, lol) of drawings. You did really well with sketching this one. Maybe it would help to get the same angle if you drew a line first at the angle you want the face to be and then another for the jawline. Then try the sketch. Just a suggestion. I try it and it works better some times than others! (Or is it that I work better sometimes than others....).

What a lovely idea, to capture a favorite painting again and again.

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