Paul Cézanne. Milk Can and Apples. 1879-80

Paul Cézanne Milk Can and Apples 1879-80

The Museum of Modern Art, Floor 5

Early in his career, Cézanne focused on violent and dark subject matter, but in the 1870s he turned to landscape and still life, a shift that allowed the radical innovation of his formal experiments to come to the fore. In Milk Can and Apples, he divides the canvas horizontally: the cool blues of the cloth, pitcher, and wallpaper contrast with the yellows, oranges, and reds of the fruit on the table. The foreshortened baguette parallels the sharp diagonal formed by the crumpled linen, and the decorative flowers and fruit on the wallpaper complement the placement of objects on the table. With this careful composition, Cézanne suggests that the painting is both a mirror of nature and something which stands apart; as he put it, "It is understood that the artist places himself in front of nature; he copies it while interpreting it."

Gallery label from 2010
Oil on canvas
19 3/4 x 24" (50.2 x 61 cm)
The William S. Paley Collection
Object number
Painting and Sculpture

Installation views

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