February 4, 2017
"Cézanne’s Mirrors: The artist, his wife, his friend and the book"
with Adele Tutter, M.D., Ph.D.
The painter Paul Cézanne and his friend, the writer Emile Zola, became fast friends during their adolescence in Provence. Zola went on to enjoy acclaim as a journalist, critic and novelist, while Cézanne pursued his art for decades with virtually no commercial success. In 1886, Zola published L'œuvre, a novel about a failed painter—a thinly disguised caricature of Cézanne. Furious at Zola, Cézanne wrote him to thank him for the book, but broke off the relationship, never writing him again....
Or so was long believed. The recent discovery of a letter written in 1887 by Cézanne to Zola thanking him for La Terre, the latest installment in the Les Rougon-Macquart series, upends this legend. Clearly, the cause of the relationship’s decline was more gradual and complicated than Cézanne’s presumed anger. As a means to understand the rift, a second look at L'œuvre reveals volumes.
In this talk, Adele Tutter will present a close reading of L'œuvre and the Cézanne-Zola correspondence alongside an analysis of Cézanne’s self-portraits and his portraits of his wife, Hortense Fiquet—works whose importance has only recently been appreciated, many of them painted in the late 1880s. This juxtaposition allows fresh insights into the unfolding dynamics of Cézanne’s complex relationships, and suggests a new formulation of the fascinating role of mirroring in adult life—in particular, in creative artists. Many images will be shown.
New York Psychoanalytic Society & Institute
247 East 82nd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues)
The Marianne & Nicholas Young Auditorium