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Czanne and "Japonisme" Author(s): Hidemichi Tanaka Reviewed work(s): Source: Artibus et Historiae, Vol. 22, No.

44 (2001), pp. 201-220 Published by: IRSA s.c. Stable URL: . Accessed: 23/09/2012 07:58
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Cezanne and Japonisme

1 Paul Cezanne and Japanese Art The exhibition Le Japonisme, held at the Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais in Paris and the NationalMuseum of Western Art in Tokyo in 1988, represented a synthesis of currentresearch into the influence exerted by Japanese art on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Western painting. Works by leading Impressionists or Post-Impressionists, including Manet, Renoir, Monet, Pissarro, Degas, Cassatt, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Gaugin, Whistler and Denis, were displayed alongside others by a numberof lesser artists, and it is interestingto note that the organizers also presented canvases by symbolist painters such as Moreauand Carriere. Forthe present writer,however,the most significantfeature of the exhibition was the fact that this was the first time that a painting by Paul Cezanne, La montagne Sainte-Victoireet le Chateau-Noir(Rewald 939, circa 1904-06), was shown in the context of Japonisme.1 Although the catalogue entry by Genevieve Lacambre, while noting that Japanese art historians had already pointed to the possible influence upon Cezanne of Hokusai's series Fugaku sanjurokkei [Thirty-Six Views of MountFuji],did not specify the precise source of this observation, in a private conversation Mme. Lacambre acknowledged that it was derived from my book Ex Oriente

Lux. Thanks to this book and an earlier article published in 1977, as well as the Japonisme exhibition held in 1988, the relationshipbetween Cezanne and Japanese art has come to be more widely recognized.2 Itwas probablythe Germanart historianFritzBurgerwho first suggested, in 1913, the possibility of a link between Cezanne's paintings and Japanese prints in an article that noted the compositional resemblances between the French painter's bird's-eye view of L'Estaqueaux toiles rouges and series Utagawa Hiroshige's printof Araifrom a vertical-format of views of the Tokaido; Burgeralso mentioned the handlingof space in Hokusai's print Shinshu Suwako [Lake Suwa in Shinano Province] as a key to understandingCezanne's use of the "bird's-eye" viewpoint.3Writingin 1955, Kazuo Fukumoto out the connection between Hokusai's Fugaku pointed Views of Mount Fuji]and his three-volsanjurokkei[Thirty-Six ume illustratedbook Fugaku hyakkei [One Hundred Views of Mount Fuji]and Cezanne's series of studies of Mont SainteVictoire4, a relationship also suggested in 1951 by Pierre Francastel, who adopted the position that "what the Impressionists took from Japonisme was a confirmation of what they had already observed directly".5 In 1977 I published an article in Japanese entitled "Japonisme, Manet and Cezanne" at the request of Dr.ChisaburoYamada,Directorof 201


1) Paul Cezanne, ((Lamaison du pendu>, 1874, Musee d'Orsay, Paris.

the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo and the author of Ukiyo-e to Insh6ha [Ukiyo-e and Impressionism], who already knew my articles on the connections between Monet, VanGogh and Japonisme, published in his museum's Bulletin 202

in 1971 and 1972.6 The present paper is based on those previous articles, supplemented by more recent research. In his Japonismus in der westlichen Malerei 1860-1920 (1979) Klaus Berger made some strong claims for the rela-


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2) Utagawa Hiroshige, <<Takeuchi>> (from the series Stations on the Kisokaido Road,>), colour print, <<Sixty-Nine c. 1834-42.

3) Utagawa Hiroshige, ((Viewof Kanbara>> (from the series Stations on the Tokaido Road,), colour print, <(Fifty-Three
c. 1833-4.

tionship between Cezanne and Japanese art, not only proposing that Cezanne's paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire were stimulated by Monet's series of Haystacks, themselves influenced by Hokusai's landscape series, but also suggesting that Hiroshige's composition was close to that of Cezanne, citing Cezanne's LEstaque, effet du soir (Rewald 170, circa 1876), which he compared to Hiroshige's view of Futami Bay. Berger also made the unusual claim that in Cezanne's portraitsof his wife her face bears a strong resemblance to certain Ukiyo-e prints.7 Among Japanese researchers, in 1983 Shigemi Inaga wrote on the influence of Japanese landscape design on the French Impressionists, including Cezanne,8 while Akiko Mabuchi has expressed agreement with Berger's opinion that Cezanne learned from Monet as well as speculating that Cezanne's decision to embark on a series of paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoirewas partly prompted by Monet's attempts at a series on La gare de St-Lazare (1876), including the Haystack, the Row of Tall Trees and Rouen Cathedral.9In an article for the catalogue of the Cezanne exhibition held at Yokohama Museum of Art in 1999, HidenoriKurodapresented a survey of existing studies on the relationship between Cezanne and Japanese art, including recent work in Japan, particularlyin relation to the watercolourpainting of the Buddhist statue discussed later in this article,10 while Kimiko Niizeki has conducted similar research, citing not only similarities in composition but also

issues concerning Western and Japanese artists' differing views of nature.11In my own article I drew attention to the work of Pissarro, who lived in Pontoise, was interested in Hiroshige's prints and may have been instrumentalin sparking Cezanne's interest in Ukiyo-e landscapes. La Maison du pendu (Rewald 202, 1874) [Fig. 1], shown at the first Impressionist exhibition, held in 1874, is a solid painting with clear colours, quite distinct from the expressive style of Cezanne's first period. The composition, centred on a point in the middle distance marked by a bend in a slope and surrounded by houses and trees that draw the eye upwards to a high horizon topped by a clear blue sky, shows some affinities with Hiroshige's print of Takeuchi [Fig. 2] from the series Kisokaid6 rokujukyutsugi [Sixty-NineStations on the Kisokaido Road]. Hiroshige's landscape, which is viewed from a high point, shares with Cezanne's the slope on the lefthand side and the horizon on the right. Niizekinoted that both artists used the same compositional device of oblique lines in the landscape, as seen in prints such as the Viewof Kanbara [Fig. 3] from the series T6kaido gojusan tsugi [Fifty-Three Stations on the TokaidoRoad]: such views could easily be found at Auvers-sur-Oise,where Cezanne painted after 1872. In both 1872-3 and 1881 Cezanne painted landscapes incorporating twisting roads (Rewald 490, Fig. 4), a subject also frequently selected by Hiroshige for his many series of views of Japan. Fukushima,for example, from the Kisokaid6roku203


5) Utagawa Hiroshige, <Fukushima,(from the series ((Sixty-NineStations on the Kisokaid6 Road,), colour print, c. 1834-42. Road,), c. 1879-82, Museum of 4) Paul C6zanne, <(Twisting Fine Arts, Boston (R. 490).

Stations on the KisokaidoRoad] shows juikyui tsugi [Sixty-Nine a section of the road near the station [Fig. 5] which is combined with trees in a manner reminiscent of Cezanne (Rewald 350, Fig. 6), while Hiroshige's print of Sugai from the same series also shows the road with one large tree in the centre [Fig. 7]. Cezanne was fond of compositions in which a tree is cut off by the frame of the painting, leaving the landscape visible through its branches. Le pin a I'Estaque (Rewald 55) and Auvers a travers les arbres (Rewald 39) both use this device, and compositions withtrees in the middle foreground,such as Le Bassin du Jas de Bouffan (Rewald 1350) call to mind a number of Ukiyo-e landscapes including not only Sugai but also Hiroshige's View of Nakatsugawa from the same Kisokaidoseries. Hokusai had pioneered this type of composition in his famous printKoshuMishimagoe [MishimaPass in Kai Province] from the earlier series Fugaku sanjirokkei Views of Mount Fuji].Again, the unusual composi[Thirty-Six tion of Cezanne's La vue de Paris (Rewald 503) with the roof occupying half of the foreground, is often seen in views of the Sumida Riverin Edo by both Hokusai and Hiroshige. Already a skilful painter,Cezanne renewed his style in the light of his study of the unique compositions and colours of Ukiyo-e

prints, thus overcoming the expressionist tendencies of his early period. 2 Why Did Cezanne Criticize the Techniques of Ukiyo-e? One document which is central to our understanding of European enthusiasm for Japanese art is the art-criticErnest Chesneau's 1878 essay in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts,which describes the situation in Paris at the time of the Exposition Universelle held in that year: "Lenthousiasme gagna tous les ateliers avec la rapidite d'une flammecourantesur une piste de poudre.On ne pouvait se laisser d'admirer I'imprevudes compositions, la de I'effet science de la forme, la richesse du ton, I'originalite la des meme en moyens pittoresque, temps que simplicite employes pourobtenirdes tels resultats... IIs'est formeainsi jusqu'aumomentpresentde depuis cette date deja lointaine I'anbelles et rapidescollectionsentre les mains de M.Villot, cien conservateur des peintures au Louvre,des peintres Manet, James Tissot, Fantin-la-Tour, Alphonse Hirsch,


7) Utagawa Hiroshige, <<Nakasegawa> (from the series Stations on the Kisokaid6 c. 1834-42. <<Sixty-Nine Road>,),

bassin du Jas de Bouffan,, (R. 350). 6) Paul Cezanne, (<Le

Degas, Carolus Duran,Monet,des graveurs Bracquemond et Jules de Jacquemart,de M. Solon de la manufacture de Sevres, des ecrivains Edmond et Jules de Goncourt, Champfleury, PhilippeBurty,Zola, de I'editeur Charpentier, des industrielsBarbedienne,Christofle, Bouilhet,Fallze;des voyageurs Cernuschi,Duret,Guizet,F.Regamey.Le mouvement etant donne, la foule des amateurssuit."12 Not only painters like Manet, Degas and Monet, but also writerslikethe Goncourts and Zola were considered as japonisants. Emile Zola in particular, who was of course an intimate friend of Cezanne and played an importantpart in his artistic development, once wrote of Manet: "IIserait beaucoup plus interessant de comparer cette peinture simplifiee avec les gravures japonaises qui lui ressemblent par leur elegance etrange et leurs taches magnifiques,"13 while Cezanne's mentor Camille Pissarro was also fond of Japanese paintings, as was Monet, the only painter whom Cezanne really respected, saying of him that he was "the

strongest" among all of them and that his work "mustenter the Louvre".Monet had such a deep interest in Japanese art that Cezanne could hardly have failed to feel its effects, if only at second hand.14Cezanne also expressed his appreciation of the Goncourts in the following terms: "IIest malheureuxde ne pouvoir faire beaucoup de specimens de mes idees et sensations, vivent les Goncourt, Pissarro, et tous ceux qui ont des propensions vers la couleur, representativede lumiere et d'air."15 Zola's leading role in the study and promotion of Cezanne's art has tended to obscure the importantpart also played by Edmond de Goncourt, and it is reasonable to suggest that Cezanne's awareness of Japanese art was nurtured not only by his painterfriendPissarro but also by de Goncourt, who was, of course, one of the most active promoters of Japanese art, writing books on both Hokusai and Utamaro. Given Cezanne's personal circumstances it is only to be expected that he would have been deeply involved in the study of Japanese art, but most Cezanne scholars have neglected this aspect of his formation, choosing instead to




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cite a conversation with Joachim Gasquet or Emile Bernardin which he expressed a negative opinion: "Ou bien, les plus sommaires, les Japonais, vous savez, ils cement brutalementleurs bonshommes, leurs objets, d'un trait brut, schematique, appuye, et en teintes plates on remplitjusqu'au bord. C'est criardcomme une affiche, peint comme au pochoir, a I'empote-piece."16 The Cezanne scholar John Rewald passes over this point in total silence17 even though the artist's comments at least make it clear that he was sufficiently familiarwith Japanese prints to be able to criticize them so harshly. Cezanne once remarkedto Bernard: "D'unautre cote les plans tombent les uns sur les autres, d'ou est sorti le neoimpressionisme qui circonscrit les

contours d'un traitnoir,defaut qu'il faut combattre a toute force."18 In deploring the black outlines of "neo-impressionisme", Cezanne had pinpointedthe very feature which most strongly reflected the influence of Ukiyo-e. Gasquet's report of a conversation with Cezanne about Japanese art is particularly revealing. The paintersaid that he had "only"read two books by the Goncourts on Utamaroand Hokusai, adding that "tothe creative intelligence of an artist,a hundred pages do not succeed in revealing as much as one line of a drawing or a small brushstroke".19Since Ukiyo-e prints (other than illustratedbooks featuring reproductions of paintings) do not normallyshow drawingor brushstrokes, but lines engraved in the block, it seems unlikely that Cezanne had not seen Ukiyo-e paintings as well, and at the very least

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Victoire,, watercolour, (R. 634). 9) Paul C6zanne, <<St. Victoire>,, 10) Paul C6zanne, <<St. (R. 912).

Gasquet's words indicate that he had studied Edmond de Goncourt'stwo books on Utamaro(1891) and Hokusai (1896), both of which give details of the techniques of Japanese printmaking. It cannot be denied, however, that one of Cezanne's principal artisticinnovations was the denial of the value of outline, in other words the very technique which lends Ukiyo-e prints much of their character. Cezanne gave expression to this denial in the famous words which he addressed to Bernardin 1904: "Traitez la nature par le cylindre, la sphere, le cone, le tout mis en perspective, soit que chaque cote d'un objet, d'un plan, se dirige vers un point central."20 According to Cezanne's theory, the cylinder, the sphere and the cone are always to be represented on the surfaces of objects by "taches" ratherthan lines. The idea of eliminating lines represented nothing less than a negation of traditional academic teaching as it had been practised since the time of Vasari, who had laid such emphasis on the importance of drawing, but this critique of a particularaspect of Japanese prints,termed "cloisonnisme"in the case of Gauguin, did not necessarily implythe denial of all Japanese artistic methods. "II y revenait sans cesse: 'Je n'avait qu'une petite sensation. Monsieur Gauguin I'a volee!' II admirait pas beau-

coup, lui qui fait un tel novateur, les decouvertes et les systematisations en peinture."21 Cezanne was always negative towards Gauguin but this was simply because the latter had "stolen" his ideas. Of course Cezanne's words express his contempt for Gauguin, but they also imply that Gauguin was using a technique that both he and Cezanne had learned from Ukiyo-e. In fact, Cezanne was aware not only of Ukiyo-e, but also of another type of Japanese paintingshown at the great expositions held in Paris duringthe closing decades of the nineteenth century. Because of his mother's illness he spent most of the year 1878 in Provence, dividing his time between Aix and I'Estaque,but a letterof 29 July 1878 suggests that he had taken the trouble to visit Paris and may have viewed the Exposition Universelle which had opened in Mayof the same year. "Avant de quitter Paris, j'ai laisse la clef de mon appartement a un nomme Guillaume,cordonnier.Voicice qui a du se passer; ce gargon a du recevoir des provinciaux a cause de I'Expositionet les a loges chez moi."22 In this letter addressed to Zola, whose main purpose was to congratulate the novelist on the purchase of a summer house and garden at Medan outside Paris, Cezanne did not 207












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ument assis,,4 11) Paul Cezanne, <L'6tuded'apres un monm c. 1880, Museum Boymans-van Beuningen, Rotterdam.

Mus6e Guimet. 12) A figure of the deity Idaten, Musee 208

ANDJAPONISME CEZANNE give an account of the exhibitionbut this does not necessarily mean that he did not see it, nor that he was not impressed, as had been Chesneau and Goncourt, by the Japanese paintings on display. It is worth noting that the Japanese section of the display on the Champs de Marsdid not include any prints, despite the fact that these were in such high regard in Europe; nevertheless it was very popular,as Chesneau reported excitedly in his article for the Gazette des Beaux-Arts23 and Goncourttoo greatly admiredthe Japanese display, especialand the folding screens.24 ly the "partitions" Whatwould Cezanne have seen at the 1878 Exposition?I think it is likely that he encountered not only examples of Japanese craft but also paintings in a quite different style: works by WatanabeSeitei sumi-e or ink paintings, in particular medal. A pupil of a bronze was awarded who (1852-1918), KikuchiY6sai (1788-1878), an eclectic artist and one of the most famous painters of the later Edo Period (1615-1868), Seitei had studied both traditional Japanese and Westerntechniques and as we can see fromthe work reproduced here [Fig. 8] did not drawthe outlines of objects but instead paintedtheir surfaces with the brush. Chesneau, who visited the Japanese section, admiredthe paintingof "I'EcoleSumie"and wrote: "Lecole Sumie peint exclusivement a I'encrede Chine, en traits hardis, rapides, sommaires, precis, caracteristiques, jetes avec une suiretede main incomparable,une science du dessin merveilleuse, une verve, une legerete, un esprit et une grace qui dans I'oeuvrede son grand maitreOksai atteinent au genie. C'est a I'admirableecole Sumie, ou ecole croquis, que s'alimente I'artindustrieljaponais tout

Chesneau was not aware of the use of colour in sumi-e, was not in fact espenor did he realize that Hokusai ("Oksai") this as a master of well known particular genre, but withcially out mentioning Seitei's name he showed a genuine appreciation of sumi-e technique. Cezanne, too, must surely have appreciated the value of this novel mode of painting. According to the Goncourt Journal, in 1878 Matsukata Masayoshi, one of the Japanese representatives at the Paris Exposition Universelle, organised at least three demonstrations of Japanese traditional painting by Japanese artists, the first at his own house, the second at Charpentier's and third at Burty's. It is apparent from Edmond de Goncourt's description of the techniques they used that they did not demonstrate Ukiyo-e painting but instead worked in sumi-e style with "Chinese"ink. Goncourt was full of praise for their skill in drawing without line and contours and yet still succeeding in expressing volume and "valeur" (strength of

colour and light and shade).26 Cezanne's watercolours show that he too was capable of achieving such effects [Fig. 9] and as already noted above he observed in one of his letters "D'un autre c6te les plans tombent les uns sur les autres..."27Cezanne made particularuse of this technique in his views of Mont Sainte-Victoire, placing one light colour upon another without contours or line in a manner akin to watercolour painting [Fig. 10]. In this respect, at least, it can be argued that his technique is similar to Japanese sumi-e. Goncourt does not give details of the guests who were invited to the three demonstrations but of the two French hosts, Georges Charpentier(1846-1905) was the publisher of Emile Zola's novels while Philippe Burty (1830-90) was a well known art critic who wrote the introductionto the catalogue of the Impressionist exhibition in 1874; both men were included in Chesneau's list of japonisants, quoted above. At the time of the demonstrations Cezanne was not in Paris but in I'Estaque; nevertheless it is possible that he heard about them from Zola.28 One of the demonstrators at Matsukata's and Charpentier's residences was Yamamoto H6sui (1850-1906), who came to Paris in 1878 on the occasion of the Exposition Universellewith the intentionof studying Western-style painting as well as introducingJapanese cuisine to France; in his first year abroad he also exhibited landscape paintings in traditional techniques.29 Goncourt mentions another Japanese artist whom he met at Charpentier'sand Burty's, Watanabe Seitei, already mentioned above, who also came to Paris for the Exposition and was one of the most famous famous inkpainters in Japan as well as being one of the first traditionalstyle painters to visit Europe. Apartfrom the fact that he used ink while Cezanne painted in oils, his style, with its smooth surfaces without outlines, is sometimes very close to that of Cezanne [Fig. 8]. It is interestingto note that Cezanne's style underwenta change in that very same year, 1878, in favour of simple forms sketched with the brush. At Matsukata's house, Goncourt also met Hayashi Tadamasa, who was in Paris for the Exposition and assisted Goncourtin his study of Japanese art. In a journalentry dated 9 May 1886, Goncourt records his admirationfor some drawings of fish and birds by YamamotoBaiitsu (1783-1856) which had been recommended to him by Hayashi. Goncourt owned eight kakemono [hanging scrolls], one of dogs by Maruyama Okyo (1723-1795), second, by KishiGanku (1749-1838), third, by Mori Sosen (1749-1821), fourth, depicting flowers, by Ogata K6rin(1658-1716), and others by Kan6Soken (d. 1697), Yukinobu (d. 1699), KikuchiY6sai and Tani Bunch6 (17631840). All had been purchased from Hayashi's shop, which opened in 1883.30 209

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Quick Guide to 13) Katsushika Hokusai, illustration from (<A Drawing,, 1881.

Quick Guide to 14) Katsushika Hokusai, illustrationfrom <(A Drawing,,,1881.

If Cezanne had not observed this type of painting at Goncourt's house, he could have seen kakemono belonging to Zola. According to the catalogue of an auction held after his death, the novelist owned six scroll paintings31 which Cezanne could have studied at one of the gatherings held every Thursday at Zola's house.32 In short, it is very unlikely that Cezanne had not seen Japanese ink paintings:even without documentary evidence, his technical innovations are enough to suggest that he had been exposed to the techniques of traditional ink painting. This is apparent not only from his compositional practice but also from his way of apply210

ing paint in both oils and watercolour:the flat, smooth surfaces of the rocks and trees that show the unmistakableinfluence of sumi-e.

3 C6zanne's Painting of a Statue of the Buddha Cezanne's interest in the Japanese artefacts in Zola's private collection is demonstrated by his watercolour of a Japanese Buddha, Letude d'apres un monument assis [Fig. 11], executed around 1880 and preserved in the Museum




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16) Katsushika Hokusai, illustrationfrom <AQuick Guide to Drawing,,,1881.

Beuningen in Rotterdam.Showing a frontview of Boymans-Van the image, seated on a dais with its hands joined together in prayer,the sketch is drawn in pencil with most of the figure The catalogue of painted in light yellow with areas of brown.33 the former Koenigs collection describes it as a "Statue of a Chinese Deity",while Venturi,who compiled the first general catalogue of Cezanne's works, called it a "monument an identification which has been generallyaccepted funeraire", Infact, the Etude defever since withoutfurtherinvestigation.34

initely depicts a Buddhist image, most likely a figure of the deity Idaten [Fig. 12], one of the eight generals associated with Zoch6ten, one of the fourTenn6 [heavenly kings] who protects the Buddha against evil influences emanating from the southern quarter.He is normallyshown as a standing figure,dressed in Chinese-style armourand offering up a sword that rests on his arms which are held out in a prayerfulgesture. Figures of Idaten were often placed in the kitchens of Zen temples. Comparingimages of Idaten with the Etude, one notices that Cezanne does not show Idaten in his complete form: he lacks the halo and sword, but there is a grimacing lion mask on his 211


du Jas de Bouffan en hiver,, 1883-86. 17) Paul C6zanne, c(Marronier

abdomen which is similar to that seen on the original sculptures.35 There is no doubt that Cezanne saw this figure in Zola's house, since it is listed in the catalogue of his property compiled after his death in 1903,36and is also visible in a photograph of Zola in his study preserved in the Musee Zola, in which two Buddhistfigures can be seen behind the novelist.37 212

Cezanne's understanding of some of the fundamental teachings of Buddhism is demonstrated by the following remarkhe made to Gasquet: "Lanature parle a tous. Eh bien! Jamais on n'a peint le paysage. L'hommeabsent, mais tout entier dans le pay-


Views of Mount Fuji))), colour print, c. 1829-33. 18) Katsushika Hokusai, ccHodogaya), (from the series <<Thirty-Six

sage. La grande machine bouddhiste, le nirvana, la consolation sans passions, sans anecdotes, les couleurs! II n'y aurait qu'a accumuler, a se laisser fleuririci. Cette
terre vous porte..."38

Japonisme, but he did make the following observation in a letter to his son: "Lidee si saine, si reconfortanteet seule juste d'un developpement d'artau contact de la Nature."39 This idea of the spirit of nature corresponds closely with that of much Japanese painting, as noted by Gustave Geffroy in an essay on Cezanne which, according to a letter by Monet of 23 November 1894, enjoyed the artist's general approval. Geffroy also expressed his admiration for

His concept of Buddhism was related to his notion of the worship of nature, an idea which is fundamentalto Japanese Buddhism, especially when assimilated to the beliefs of Japan's native religion, Shinto. How did he learn about Buddhism?There is no doubt that he moved injaponisant circles even though he had very little to say himself about


19) Paul C6zanne, (Mont Sainte-Victoirevue de Bellevue), 1886-8.

Suwa in Shinano Province, 20) Katsushika Hokusai, (<Lake colour Views of Mount Fuji>,), (from the series <<Thirty-Six print, c. 1829-33.

Japanese art in an article on Japanese landscape painting in Le Japon Artistique of 1892,40 while Emile Bernard records Cezanne's interest in the issue of outlined form, alluded to above: "'Oui, comme ga j'ai une vision nette des plans!' Les plans! C'etait sa continuelle preoccupation. 'Voilace que Gauguin n'a jamais compris', insinuait-il.Je devais aussi pour beaucoup prendre ma partde ce reproche et je sentais que Cezanne avait raison, il n'est pas de belle peinture si la surface plane reste plate, il faut que les objets courent, s'eloignent, vivent. C'est la toute la magie de notre art."41 Cezanne was opposed to Gauguin's "cloisonnisme", by which he meant that Gauguin's outlined surfaces were excessively flat, and he applied the same criticism to Ukiyo-e, as noted above in his remarksto Gasquet. But as I have already suggested, his emphasis on the expression of the surface without the use of contours was an idea that he may have taken from Japanese ink painting. There is no doubt that other artists in Cezanne's circle were much taken with Ukiyo-e. His mentor Pissarro said, "Hiroshigeis an excellent impressionist and Monet, Rodin and 214

I were fascinated by him... these Japanese artists deepened our confidence in our vision..." (27 February1893) and in fact Cezanne's paintingmethod was similarto that of Ukiyo-ein its use of primarycolours. Bernardobserved C6zanne"s palette in his studio in Aix: "IIn'en est pas de meme de celle des Impressionnistes qui, par son arret au bleu, cree I'impuissance du noir et aussi I'absence de chaleur dans I'ombre.On peut arriver a tout le relief desirable, il est vrai, avec le blanc et le noir seuls; mais alors c'est au prixde I'absence de coloris. En adjoignantau blanc et au noir les trois couleurs primaires, soit le rouge, le bleu, le jaune, on se dirige deja vers une gamme chantante, mais le grand nombre d'alterations que I'on fait subir a ces couleurs fondamentales leur enlbve leur fraicheur,et on perd alors en intensite et en eclat ce que I'on peut gagner en harmonie et en intimite."42

This description could be interpreted as meaning that Cezanne's painting style incorporated both the watercolour technique of Japanese painting and the colour structure of Ukiyo-e, enhancing the effect of his coloured surfaces by the use of visible brush strokes and subtle contours [Fig. 11].

CEZANNE ANDJAPONISME 4 Why Did Cezanne Paint Thirty-Six Views of Mont Sainte-Victoire? Cezanne painted exactly thirty-sixoil paintings of Mont Sainte-Victoire(a figure confirmed by John Rewald's recent catalogue)43, coinciding in a sense with Hokusai's thirty-six views of Mount Fuji. It may be, of course, that new paintings will be discovered so that the number increases, but it seems difficult to believe that this number thirty-six is a complete accident and not in some way a challenge to the great Eastern master. Before coming to a conclusion on this matter, we should examine Cezanne's creative process in greater detail. In the years leading up to 1878, the Romantic or Expressionist tendency of Cezanne's early period gradually became less prominentunder the influence of Ukiyo-e. From 1878, he not only adopted some of Ukiyo-e's compositional devices but also started to work in a manner that reflects his awareness of Japanese ink painting. Despite his dislike of Ukiyo-e's tendency towards "cloisonnisme",he at least used lines to delineate the outlines of objects. In his Ryakuga haya-oshie [A Quick Guide to Drawing],44 Hokusai shows how whole forms are basically composed of hoen [squares and circles] [Figs. 13 and 15] and recommends that artists should compose with the aid of compasses and rulers in order to preserve correct proportions.As if to underline his point, in Torigoe no Fuji [Fujiseen from Torigoe], an fromFugakuhyakkei [One HundredViewsof Mount illustration Fuji],Hokusaidepicted MountFujiviewed throughan armillary sphere, the ho [square] of the roof in the foreground and the en [circle] of the armillarysphere emphasising Mount Fuji's conical shape. Cezanne's solid composition and simplificationof objects is reminisicent of this guide, as is his famous advice to the nature by means young Bernardin 1904, already cited: "Treat of the cylinder, the sphere, the cone". In his book, Hokusai represents animals in the third dimension by means of circular lines and houses by means of triangles [Figs. 13, 14 and 16]. There was no word in traditional Japanese for "three dimensions" but it is interestingthat Hokusai used the phrase "as one sees things by flying freely all around them" to express the same idea.45 Hokusai's books were already known in Paris and it may be speculated that Cezanne took the idea of "cubism"from the Japanese master.46Until now Cezanne scholars have devoted much time to explaining his theory of perspective but they have paid less attention to the origins of cubism. In his littlebook, Hokusai set out not just to present series of naturalisticsketches but also to show the principles behind them, in other words his aim was to create a popular but artistically valid treatise on geometrical analysis and stereometric design, the proposition being that most pictures can be broken up into circles and squares. Hokusai claimed that in theory at least he took his theme from an elliptical phrase in the Chinese Confucian classic Mengzi [Mencius]: "Without compass or ruler,even the sage cannot draw a perfect circle or square", but to this he added something of his knowledge of Western art, East and West fusing in his remarkablemind to create a brilliant adaption that belongs to neitherworld, but to his own special universe.47 Cezanne expounded something similartwo generations later,and it seems likelythat Hokusai himself derived the basic idea, directly or indirectly,from foreign sources such as Dutch painting manuals of the mid-seventeenth century, perhaps through publications such as Morishima Chury6's Komo zatsuwa [Red-FurMiscellany, or description of Europe] of 1787. Once the concept entered Hokusai's head, however, it underwent all kinds of transforfar ahead mations, so that the result is a work of real creativity, of its time both in theory and in practice.48 The ruthless simplificationof form and the bright colours Cezanne used at this period could also have been influenced by Japanese art, the Mont Sainte-Victoireseries in particular exhibiting a number of parallels with views of Mount Fuji by Hokusai and Hiroshige. There are compositional similarities between Marronier du Jas de Bouffan en hiver (Rewald 531, 1883-86) [Fig. 17], and Hodogaya from Hokusai's Fugaku Views of Mount Fuji] [Fig. 18]. Rewald sanjurokkei[Thirty-Six photographed the same scene to demonstrate that in the paintingthe trees are artificially elongated and the horizon is raised. Mont Sainte-Victoireis not visible in Rewald's photograph but even if it could be seen it is doubtful that it would have appeared so high, and virtuallycertain that it would not have seemed so pointed.49Even the hillwhich appears at the rightof the composition may have been taken from Hokusai. This combination of a tree or trees in the foreground and the mountain in the background is also seen in Mont SainteVictoirevue de Bellevue (Rewald511) [Fig. 19], calling to mind Hokusai's Shinshu Suwako [Lake Suwa in Shinano Province] [Fig. 20], which shows trees in the centre dwarfing a tiny MountFujiin the background.The idea of the tree in the centre foreground and the mountainin the distance clearly made an extraordinary impression on Cezanne, but he always avoided the temptationto indulge in the exaggeration seen in some of Hokusai's prints.The paintingof MontSainte-Victoire in the Musee d'Orsay, Paris (Rewald 608, c. 1890) [Fig. 21] resembles a reversed image of Hokusai's Sunshu Katakura[Katakura in Suruga Province] [Fig. 22] while in Sainte-Victoire au grand pin (Rewald 598, 1886-7) [Fig. 23] the painter puts the 215


Sainte-Victoire,, c. 1890, Mus6e d'Orsay, Paris. 21) Paul C6zanne, (<Mont

tree aside, but retains the branches which cover the sight of Sainte-Victoire like the pine trees in Hokusai's KoshO Mishimagoe [MishimaPass in KaiProvince] [Fig. 24]; all three prints came from the series Fugaku sanjurokkei [Thirty-Six Views of MountFuji]. Itwas not just the composition of the MontSainte-Victoire paintings but also the very idea of a series of views of a specific mountain which seem to have been derived from Hokusai's views of Fuji.Before Cezanne, no European painter had executed a long series of views of a single mountain,even during the romantic period when mountainous landscapes were celebrated in art, literatureand music.50 On the whole,

mountainscontinued to be represented as symbolic, like Mont Sinai or Mount Parnassus, ratherthan as individual,identifiable objects.51 InJapan, by contrast, MountFujiwas an object of worship as early as the eleventh century and from the Muromachi period (15th century) pictures of the mountain were used as ex-votos at Shinto shrines. During the Edo Period the cult of Mount Fuji grew more widespread and it came to be seen as a symbol of the beauty of the natural world. For Hokusai, its form and colours changed from every viewpoint and at every time of the day and season of the year, so that his depictions of the sacred mountainare now universally regarded as symbolic of the beauty of nature.52


colour print,c. 1829-33. Views of MountFuji>), in Suruga Province))(fromthe series ((Thirty-Six 22) KatsushikaHokusai, ((Katakura

Of course there are major differences between the approaches adopted by the two artists. Cezanne did not include human figures in his paintings of Mont SainteVictoire, nor did he drastically reduce the middle ground in the same way as Hokusai, who always gave greatest emphasis to the foreground and background. He obviously had some special reason for selecting that particularmountain, since he certainly had the opportunity to observe other fine peaks. In the summer of 1896, for example, he could have seen mountains more than 2000 metres high when he visited Annecy, but these left him unmoved. Staying at a health resort at Talloireson Lake Annecy, he wrote to his old friend Philippe Solari:

"Quandj'etais a Aix, il semblait que je serais mieux autre part.Maintenant que je suis ici, je regretteAix. La vie commence a etre pour moi d'une monotonie sepulcrale... Mon fils sera sans doute bient6ta Aix,fais-luipartde mes souvenirs, des rappels de nos promenades aux Peirieres,a Ste Victoire...Pourme desennuyerje fais de la peinture,ce n'est pas tres drole, mais le lac est tres bien avec de grandes collines tout autour,on me dit de deux millemetres, ga ne vaut pas notre pays, quoique sans charge ce suit bien. - Mais quand on est ne la-bas, c'est foutu,rienne vous dit plus."53 Cezanne claims here that his preference for MontSainteVictoirewas promptedby love of his home, but in realityit was


I ;1

,?:~ t, .

au grand pin,,, 1886-7, 23) Paul Cezanne, (<Sainte-Victoire Courtauld Institute Galleries, London.

Pass in Kai Province,, 24) Katsushika Hokusai, <<Mishima Views of Mount Fuji>,), colour (from the series <<Thirty-Six print, c. 1829-33.

the fact that he had been so familiarwith the forms of the mountain since early childhood that he felt confident enough to embark on a series of thirty-sixviews. KarlBerger makes the assumption that Cezanne began his series of view of Mont Sainte-Victoire around 1890 and suggests that Monet, who wanted to start work on his waterlily series, made Cezanne aware of Hokusai's Fujiprints.54In fact, however, he had already painted two views of the mountain in 1878-9 (Rewald 397, 398) and two furtherpaintings in 1882 (Rewald 511, 512). It is possible that Cezanne had learned about the importance of the number thirty-six from Edmond de Goncourt's book on Hokusai, published in 1896: "De 1823 a 1829 parait,sous le title de Les Trente-Six Vues de Fougakou (Fouzi-yama), une serie d'impressions celebres, qui dans le principe ne devait compter que 36 planches, et dont le nombre a ete porte a 46 planches. Cette serie en largeur,aux couleurs un peu crues, mais ambitieuses de se rapprocherdes colorations de la nature sous tous les aspects de la lumiere, est I'albuminspi-

rateurdu paysage des impressionistes de I'heurepresente."55

The fact that Cezanne apparently painted thirty-sixviews withHokusai.Needless to say, when he suggests a secret rivalry firststartedpaintingthe mountainin 1870 (Rewald156, Munich, Staatsgalerie) he was not subject to the influence of Hokusai, but when he paintedthe subject after 1896, he must have been aware of the Japanese artist'swork, and from 1904 to 1906 he to complete the last eight works, seems to have been in a hurry devoting much of his remainingenergy to paintingMontSainteVictoire,perhaps in a finaleffortto catch up with Hokusai. Pierre Francastel, criticising the studies of Rewald, who ignoredthe possibilityof Japanese influences on Cezanne, was apparently in no doubt that Cezanne's Mont Sainte-Victoire series was inspiredby Hokusai'sFugakusanjurokkei[Thirty-Six Viewsof MountFuji].Francasteladopted the positionthat "what the Impressioniststook from Japonisme was a confirmation of what they had alreadyobserved directly"56, but I am convinced that it was not until the discovery of Japanese art that the Impressionistswere in a position to make such observations.



1 Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, and National Museum of WesternArt,Tokyo,Le Japonisme, Paris, 1988. For other exhibitions on Japonisme since 1972, see Siegfried Wichmannand und moderne Kunst:Die Begegnung MonikaGoedl-Roth,Weltkulturen der europaischen Kunst und Musik im 19. und 20. Jahrhundertmit Asien, Afrika, Ozeanien, Afro- und Indo-Amerika, Munich, 1972; Cleveland Museum of Art,Japonisme: Japanese Influence on French Art, 1854-1910, Cleveland, 1975; NorthernCentre for Contemporary Art, Sunderland, Japonisme: Japanese Reflections in Western Art, Sunderland, England, 1986. None of the exhibitions included paintings by Cezanne. 2 Hidemichi Tanaka , "Japonisme, Manet and Cezanne" [in wa t5oh yori [foreign-languagetitle:Ex Japanese], Taiyo,1977; Hikari OrienteLux],Tokyo,1986. 3 FritzBurger,Cezanne und Hodler:Einfuhrung in die Probleme der Malereider Gegenwart, Munich,1913, pp. 95-6. 4 Kazuo Fukumoto, Hokusai to Inshdha, Rittaiha no hitobito [Hokusai and the Impressionists and Cubists], Tokyo, 1955; ibid., Hokusaito kindaikaiga [Hokusaiand ModernPainting],Tokyo,1968. 5 PierreFrancastel, Peintureet societe, Lyon-Audin, 1951, p. 128. 6 Yamada Chisabur6, Ukiyo-e to Insh6ha [Ukiyo-e and Impressionism],Tokyo,1973. Dr.Yamada,a specialist in the historyof East Asian influences in early modern European art, was Directorof the NationalMuseumof WesternArtin Tokyo.Forthe present writer's articles on the connections between Van Gogh and Monet and Japonisme see: The Bulletin of the National Museum of WesternArt [Tokyo],1971 and 1972, in Japanese with Frenchsummary. 7 Kimiko Niizeki, Sezannu to Zora: sono geijutsu to yOjd [Cezanne and Zola: Art and Friendship],Tokyo, 2000, p. 317; Klaus Berger, Japonismus in der westlichen Malerei 1860-1920, Munich, 1980. For an Englishtranslationof the latterwork see note 54. 8 Shigemi Inaga, "Lareinterpretation de la perspective lineaire au Japon 1740-1830 et son retouren France 1860-1910",Actes de la recherche en sciences sociales, 49 (1983), pp. 29-46. Other recent research on this topic will be found in Kaigano t6oh [The East in Art], Nagoya, 1999. 9 Akiko Mabuchi, Japonizumu: genso no Nihon (French title: Japonisme: Representations et imaginaires des Europeens); Tokyo, 1997. 10 YokohamaMuseum of Art,Sezannu-ten [Cezanne exhibition] (exhibitioncatalogue), Tokyo,1999. 11 Niizeki,op. cit., p. 317. 12 Ernest Chesneau, "LeJapon a Paris, Exposition Universelle", Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Sept.-Nov. 1878, p. 387. 13 "It would be much more interestingto compare (Manet's)simplifiedstyle of paintingwithJapanese printswhich resemble his workin theirstrange elegance and magnificent splashes of colour".EmileZola, "EdouardManet,etude biographiqueet critique:Lhommeet I'artiste", in Ecritssur l'Art, Paris,1991, p. 152. ZolamentionedJapanese artin his novels. See Le Japonisme, op. cit., "Anthologie", XI,XIX. 14 "Trescritique sur ses contemporains, sauf pour Monet, "le Je I'ajouteau Louvre!""(conplus fortde nous tous", disait-il,"Monet! versation with Gustave Geffroy,see P M. Doran ed., Conversation,p. 4); but compare also this quotation: "Pissarro est une vieille bete, Monet un finot, ils n'ont rien dans le ventre... il n'y a que moi qui aie du temperament, il n'y a que moi qui sache faire un rouge..." (Pissarro, quoting Cezanne's words as reportedto him by Francisco Oiler,in a letterof 20 January1906 to his son Lucien;see John Rewald ed., CamillePissarro:Lettresa son fils Lucien, Paris, 1950, p. 397). 15 Letterto his son Paul,Aix,3 August 1906, in John Rewalded., Correspondance de Paul Cezanne, Paris, 1978, p. 318.
16 "...they surround human figures and objects with rough, approximateoutlines and fillthem fromone cornerto another withflat colour. Theirpictures have the tawdriness of posters and the patternlike quality of stencils". See M. Derain ed., Conversation avec Cezanne, Paris, 1977, p. 133. 17 John Rewald, Cezanne: Sa vie, son oeuvre, son amitie pour Zola, Paris, 1939. 18 Letterto Emile Bernard,23 October 1905, Correspondance, op. cit., p. 315. 19 Edition of 1926. Gasquet proves that Cezanne at least read Goncourt's books on Japanese artists. It is reported that before he made this comment, 'Japanese and Chinese artists became the topic of conversation. When I turned the conversation in that direction, he [Cezanne] said, 'I do not know anything about those people. I have never seen any of their pictures"'. 20 "Treat nature by means of the cylinder,the sphere, the cone, everything brought into proper perspective so that each side of an object or a plane is directed towards a central point".Letterto Emile Bernard,15 April1904. 21 ConversationwithGustave Conversation,op. cit., p. 4. Geffroy, 22 Correspondance,op. cit., 27 July 1878, p. 169. 23 Chesneau, op. cit. 24 2 May 1878, in Edmond et Jules de Goncourt, Journal: memoirs de la vie litteraire(edited and annotated by Robert Ricatte with a preface by Robert Kopp, 1989), vol. 3. 25 Chesneau, op. cit., 1 November 1878, p. 846.

Rewald, Watercolors,A Catalogue Raisonne, Boston, 1983, no. 134. 28 Duringthis period he wrote many letters to him requesting financialassistance. 29 Laterhe studied European-stylepaintingin Paris under JeanLeon Ger6me, Professor at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.His best-known work is a Nude in the TokyoNationalMuseum.

26 Goncourt, op. cit., 6 November 1878, pp. 309-10. 27 See note 18. I. Paul Cezanne. The

Goncourt, op. cit., 14 December 1894, vol. III.

Hotel Drouot, Catalogue of the Inheritance of Emile Zola (Auctioncatalogue, Paris, 9-13 March1903). 32 Others present at this meeting included Felix Regamey, a painterwho visited Japan with EmileGuimetin 1876. 33 The reverse of this Etude, listed as C. 608, shows a portrait of a young man and a landscape view of the Jas de Bouffan,both executed at about the same time. 34 LionelloVenturi, Paul Cezanne: Watercolours, Oxford,1943. 35 T.Kurita, in Cezanne and Japan, op. cit., p. 161, pp. 201-2. This identification was proposed by Mikayama curatorat the Aichi Takaaki, PrefecturalMuseumof Art.
31 36 Zola also owned Japanese

and other items. 37 Niizeki,op. cit., p. 313. 38 Conversationwith Joachim Gasquet, Conversation,op. cit., p. 117. 39 Letterto his son, 13 September 1906, Correspondance, op. cit., p. 325. 40 Le Japon artistique(Samuel Bing ed.), December 1892, p. 434, 1. 1-5. 41 Conversationwith Emile Bernard,Conversation,op. cit., p. 65. 42 Conversationwith Emile Bernard,ibid., p. 73. 43 John Rewald'srecent catalogue lists the views of MontSainteVictoireas follows: 156, 397, 398, 511, 512, 551, 572, 573, 574, 598, 599, 608, 651, 698, 762, 767, 768, 796, 837, 899, 900, 901, 902, 910, 911 912, 913, 914, 915, 916, 917, 918, 931, 932,.938, 939. See John 219

porcelain, lacquer, ivories, armour

TANAKA HIDEMICHI Rewald (in collaboration with Walter Feilchenfeldt and Jayne ThePaintingsof Paul Cezanne:A Catalogue Raisonne, New Warman), York,1996. 44 KatsushikaHokusai, Ryakuga haya-oshie [A Quick Guide to Drawing],Edo [Tokyo],1811. 45 In the introduction to a sequel to Ryakugahaya-oshie (1813), also by Hokusai. 46 Japanese "albums,livres a gravures"were widely diffused in the Parisianart world:see Chesneau, op. cit. p. 387. 47 RichardLane,Hokusai:Lifeand Work, New York,1989, p. 116. Shores, 1996, p. 126. 50 See the catalogue Le sentiment de la montagne, Musee de Grenoble, 1998.
51 The Greek MountParnassus is not normallymade the exclusive subject of a painting;it is more a patrioticnationalsymbol than a regional landmark.See AlbertBoime, "Cezanne's real and imaginary estate", ZeitschriftfurKunst,4 (1998), p. 38. 52 See Kan6 Hiroyuki, Katsushika Hokusai, GaifQ-Kaisei [Katsushika Hokusai: South Wind at Clear Dawn], Tokyo, 1994; Nagoya CityMuseum,TheSpiritof the Japanese: TheBeautyof Mount Fuji (exhibition catalogue, Nagoya, 1998) and Suzuki Susumu ed., Nihon no bi: Fuji[Japanese Beauty: Fuji],Tokyo,2000. 53 Correspondance,op. cit., 23 July 1896, p. 253. 54 Klaus Berger,Japonisme in Westernpainting from Whistler to Matisse (translatedby David Britt,Cambridge,1992), pp. 11-13. 55 Edmond de Goncourt, Hokousai, Paris, 1896; (new edition in the series Fins de siecle, H. Juin ed., Paris, 1986), pp. 230-1. 56 Francastel,op. cit., p. 128.

48 Ibid., p. 116. 49 Pavel Machotka,Cezanne: Landscape into Art,Grosse Pointe