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Sotheby's Preview (April, 2002) describes a forthcoming auction of the work of the great French photographer Charles Nègre (1820-1880). One of the photographs at auction is Nègre's Mills at Grasse (1852). The architecture, which appears eerily cubist, hints that the multiple perspectival views of cubism corresponded at times to the reality of the scene rather than a theory of painting! And perhaps we now view such scenes through the eyes of Cézanne.
Near Grasse is Sainte Agnès, a compact medieval village, where the clusters of tiled roofs have a distinctly cubist texture (photograph copyright 1996-2002 by Russ Collins at Provence-Beyond):
Cézanne scholars have of course noticed the cubist architecture. Earle Loran in Cézanne's Composition: Analysis of His Form with Diagrams and Photographs of His Motifs (1943) compares several of Cézanne's paintings with the original motif. In 1927-1929 Loran lived in Cézanne's former studio in Aix-en-Provence. Loran went out and photographed what remained of the original locations depicted in Cézanne's landscape painting. For example,
a parallel comparison of Cézanne's Town of Gardanne with Loran's photograph of the motif. Loran writes (p. 122): ". . . after studying the upper section of the photograph of the motif one might well conclude that the actual buildings were as forcefully and geometrically cubistic in reality as Cézanne has made them in his painting."
-- Edward Tufte
Response to Graphic of the Day: Cubism in medieval French planning and zoning?
Looks very close to a more serious approach expressed in Machotka's book "Cezanne: Landscape into Art"; references are always good to quote and this is one that is worth a visit, a very interesting work and research by its author. Enjoy it,
-- Bruno (email)