Art after Cézanne: The ‘Primitive’ and the Modern National Museum Cardiff

The development of modern art in Europe was influenced by the revolutionary work of Paul Cézanne and the discovery of ‘primitive’ art.

At the beginning of the twentieth century the paintings of Cézanne had an enormous impact on artists.

With loose, impressionistic brushwork now established as a style, Cézanne’s example encouraged avant-garde artists to introduce more structure into their work.

His painting suggested how the formal qualities of a work of art – shape, colour, line and texture – could be important and expressive in their own right. Art no longer had to tell a story or portray reality.

To help this break with tradition, artists drew inspiration from ‘primitive’ art including African sculpture, European folk art and the art of children.

They admired the way these forms all rejected naturalism in favour of more direct modes of expression.

The influence of Cézanne and the engagement with the ‘primitive’ revitalised western art.

It led to key innovations such as the development of Cubism and the subsequent emergence of abstract art.

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Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Midday, L'Estaque, oil on canvas, about 1879.
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Midday, L'Estaque, oil on canvas, about 1879.
NMW A 29292, Cedric Morris, Two Sisters, 1935, '© Cedric Morris Estate'
NMW A 29292, Cedric Morris, Two Sisters, 1935, '© Cedric Morris Estate'
Map of gallery 14


Gallery 14
National Museum Cardiff
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