Paul Cézanne painted Portrait of Victor Chocquet Seated in oil on canvas technique in 1877. This painting is in the collection of the Columbus Museum of Art in Ohio.
What is depicted in the Portrait of Victor Chocquet Seated?
The painting represents the famous French collector Victor Chocquet in a seated position, surrounded by paintings.
Portrait of Victor Chocquet Seated – Analysis
Cézanne was committed to the long process of working on the painting. That work was based on the principles of unifying what he sees, feels, and thinks about the model he is painting as well as the environment surrounding him. In portraits, he begins to apply the technique he developed in landscape painting – the technique of the so-called constructive brushstrokes. This technique involves arranging patches of paint of similar size in parallel or diagonal directions, treating the figure of the portrayed person and the objects in his environment in the same way. During his long career, Cézanne almost always portrayed people from his immediate environment, usually family members or friends.
As an art collector, Victor Chocquet was a very important figure in the popularization of Impressionism and artists close to that movement. His collaborations with Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Paul Cézanne resulted in the creation of an imposing collection. The sophistication of this composition is reflected both in Cézanne’s representation of the space, furniture, and paintings surrounding Chocquet and in the vividness and dynamism of the palette itself. Although one of the many portraits of Chocquet by Cézanne, this one was probably the most studied by researchers. Meyer Schapiro wrote about this portrait in the book Cezanne:
It is painted in an original way, a further step in Cézanne’s striving for a constructed form. The whole is a banding and fitting of mainly horizontal and vertical strips of rich color, like a section of mosaic or a patchwork rug. The treatment of the interlocked hands is a good example of Cézanne’s idea. The texture of the pigment is more pronounced than the texture of the represented objects, and the painted pattern is clearer than the structure of things. We are aware of the colored marquetry of the desk before we recognize the desk itself. It is hard to know exactly the large form of the desk or to determine where floor and wall meet.
Cézanne painted several portraits of Victor Chocquet. The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond houses a portrait of Victor Chocquet that is a head study for the more monumental composition Victor Chocquet Seated.