Madame Cézanne’s Hairdos
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Madame Cézanne’s Hairdos

John Baldessari (1931-2020), explores the dislocation between context and image in his work. His work, as unclassifiable as it is full of wit and humor, includes for the last 50 years painting, photography, engraving, sculpture, video and public works. In recent years we have presented its most important graphic series. The 2016 series entitled Madame Cézanne's Hairdos is inspired by Cezanne's portraits of Hortense Fiquet that could be seen in the exhibition “Madame Cézanne” at the Metropolitan Museum in 2015. Baldessari turned her attention to the hairstyles of Paul's wife Cézanne. Attracted by the hair of Cézanne's model, Baldessari begins his work complying with one of his fundamental principles, which is to make the viewer see something by eliminating other information. In Madame Cézanne's hairstyles, the obvious details of the subject (eyes, nose and ears) are erased and Cezanne's artistic gesture is completely removed. The artist has eliminated spatula strokes and modeling, leaving the viewer with only two simplified shapes to focus on: one beige, one black. Baldessari transforms images of Cézanne's muse hairstyles by isolating and exaggerating the shape and scale of her hair. It transforms them into silkscreens of flat and highly graphic geometries, appropriately titled Cone, Cube, Octagon, Oval Pyramid, Rhomboid, Sphere, and Trapezoid. The French artist always sought volume within the two-dimensional exercise of painting and, at the most basic level, sought to deal with nature through the geometries of "the cylinder, the sphere, and the cone." Baldessari's terms are literally the same. Baldessari's delightfully ironic series reimagines the familiar to encourage new interpretation and generate new ways of looking. John Baldessari's work is included in the most important museums and collections around the world.

Madame Cézanne’s Hairdos

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