“Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress” by Paul Cézanne
“Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress” by Paul Cézanne is a portrait of the artist’s wife wearing a shawl-collared red dress seated in a high-backed yellow chair.
Madame Cézanne is placed in a spatially complex composition, which includes a mirror over the fireplace on the left and a richly colored heavy cloth on the right.
The subject, Marie-Hortense Fiquet Cézanne (1850 – 1922), was a former artist’s model who met Cézanne about 1869; they had a son in 1872, and later married.
Paul Cézanne painted 27 portraits, mostly in oil of her, and she became his most-painted model.
Marie-Hortense Fiquet met Cézanne at a Paris art school. The School was used by artists to paint the models who worked there.
Fiquet’s primary job was as a bookseller and bookbinder, but she combined this with part-time work as a model.
They started a relationship; however, Cézanne was afraid of offending his father, a well-to-do banker, and to not compromise his allowance, he went to great lengths to conceal his liaison with Fiquet.
Fiquet and Cézanne eventually married. However, Fiquet was to live separately from her husband for much of their married life, and they later separated.
The psychological distance between husband and wife appears to be reflected in her portraits, where Cézanne gives the impression of her being distant and self-absorbed.
Despite their complicated relationship, a large number of paintings by Cézanne of his wife attests to her compelling role in the artist’s life and artistic development.
Paul Cézanne was a Post-Impressionist painter who laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century Impressionism to the 20th century’s Cubism.
Both Matisse and Picasso have remarked that Cézanne “is the father of us all.” Cézanne’s art is characterized by repetitive, exploratory small brushstrokes that build up to form complex color fields, demonstrating his intense study of his subjects.
Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress
- Title: Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress
- Artist: Paul Cézanne
- Year: 1890
- Medium: Oil on canvas
- Dimensions: Height: 116.6 cm (45.9 in); Width: 89.5 cm (35.2 in)
- Museum: Metropolitan Museum of Art – MET
- Name: Paul Cézanne
- Born: 1839 – Aix-en-Provence, France
- Died: 1906 (aged 67) – Aix-en-Provence, France
- Nationality: French
- Movement: Post-Impressionism
- Notable works:
- The Card Players (Barnes Foundation)
- The Card Players (Courtauld Gallery)
- The Card Players (MET)
- Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory
- Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress
- Madame Cézanne in a Red Armchair
- Bathers (The National Gallery, London)
- The Large Bathers (Philadelphia Museum of Art)
- Bathers by Paul Cézanne (Art Institute of Chicago)
- Bathers by Paul Cézanne (Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC)
Cezanne’s Madame Cezanne in a Red Dress
Explore the Metropolitan Museum of Art
MET European Paintings Collection
- “Pygmalion and Galatea” by Jean-Léon
- “Saint Jerome as Scholar” by El Greco
- “Portrait of Juan de Pareja” by Diego Velázquez
- “Camille Monet on a Garden Bench” by Claude Monet
- “View of Toledo” by El Greco
- “The Musicians” by Caravaggio
- “The Death of Socrates” by Jacques-Louis David
- “The Harvesters” by Pieter Bruegel the Elder
- “Young Woman Drawing” by Marie-Denise Villers
- “The Grand Canal, Venice” by J. M. W. Turner
- “The Houses of Parliament (Effect of Fog)” by Claude Monet
- “Madame Cézanne in a Red Dress” by Paul Cézanne
MET Modern and Contemporary Art Collection
- “Reclining Nude” by Amedeo Modigliani
- “Improvisation 27 (Garden of Love II)” by Wassily Kandinsky
- “Jeanne Hébuterne” by Amedeo Modigliani
- “The Card Players” by Paul Cézanne
- “Bathers” by Paul Cézanne
MET American Wing Collection
- “Washington Crossing the Delaware” by Emanuel Leutze
- “Portrait of Madame X” by John Singer Sargent
- “Mother and Child” by Mary Cassatt
- “Fur Traders Descending the Missouri” by George Caleb Bingham
- “The Gulf Stream” by Winslow Homer
Madame Cézanne in the Conservatory
“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.”
– Paul Cézanne
Photo Credit: Paul Cézanne [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons