Still life was an important genre to Cézanne, who made approximately two hundred such paintings over the course of four decades. In Still Life with Fruit Dish he created a shallow, compressed space that flattens the sculptural volumes of dish, glass, and fruit. This painting was a prized possession of the artist Paul Gauguin, who described the picture as "an exceptional pearl, the apple of my eye." It was only when he needed money for medical care that Gauguin unhappily parted with it.
Gallery label from Cézanne to Picasso: Paintings from the David and Peggy Rockefeller Collection, July 17–August 31, 2009