A rare early drawing by Paul Cézanne, found at random from an estate in the south of France, was sold for 26,000 euros at an auction on Sunday March 13 in Reims .

a rare drawing by Paul Cezanne
Copyright Ivoire Reims

The beginning of Paul Cezanne

Probably produced between 1856 and 1857, at the beginning of Paul Cézanne’s (1839-1906) apprenticeship years, the work consists of two drawings. The front was made by Paul Cezanne, and the back by his sister Marie. On a 22.4 x 16.9 cm sheet format, Paul Cézanne places two figures of a soldier and an old woman face to face. The lines are quick, dry and the shapes angular, when, on the back, Marie Cézanne seems to have devoted more time and attention to the creation of a landscape whose bell tower can be seen in the distance. The technique used by Paul Cézanne of brown ink on a pencil line is a great specificity of these early drawings. It is difficult to see at this stage the first stages of genius of the painter of Sainte-Victoire. Around 17-18 years old, the young man is still at the stage of copying old masters. The back features a landscape with Calvary, made by Marie Cézanne, the artist’s younger sister.

Two years of research

Two years of research to authenticate the double-sided drawing « It’s a wonderful rediscovery. This drawing passed through the hands of the son and then the grandson of Cézanne before we lost track of it for almost sixty years », explained to AFP Thierry Collet, the Reims auctioneer responsible for the sale of the drawing, originally estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 euros. Although it included a note inscribed by Jean-Pierre Cézanne, the painter’s grandson, indicating that « the drawing opposite was an original drawing by (his) grandfather », it was still necessary more than two years of expert research to authenticate the double-sided drawing as belonging to the so-called « Jerusalem » notebook.

A 24 pages notebook

“This 24-page youth notebook included the first drawings by Paul Cézanne. Six, including the one we sold today, were detached, the other 18 were sold by the grandson to an American collector who then donated them to the Israel Museum in Jerusalem,” said Collet. . Of rare value, the drawing sold on Sunday is a new clue, he explains, to the first inspirations of the painter from Aix-en-Provence, in this case the works of the old masters (a term designating the European artists who practiced their art between the years 1400 and 1700).

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