National Museum Cardiff

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.

» Back to Art

[image: Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Midday, L'Estaque, oil on canvas, about 1879.]

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906), Midday, L'Estaque, oil on canvas, about 1879.

[image: NMW A 29292, Cedric Morris, Two Sisters, 1935, '© Cedric Morris Estate']

NMW A 29292, Cedric Morris, Two Sisters, 1935, '© Cedric Morris Estate'

[image: Map of gallery 14]

Location:

Gallery 14
National Museum Cardiff
  • National Museum Cardiff

    [image: National Museum Cardiff]

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

  • St Fagans National History Museum

    [image: St Fagans]

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    [image: Big Pit]

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    [image: National Wool Museum]

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    [image: National Roman Legion Museum]

    In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.

  • National Slate Museum

    [image: National Slate Museum]

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

  • National Waterfront Museum

    [image: National Waterfront Museum]

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

    Rhagor (Welsh for ‘more’) offers unprecedented access to the amazing stories that lie behind our collections.