During the 1860s Cézanne divided his time between his family home in Aix-en-Provence and Paris, where this picture was probably painted. It evokes the privation of his Bohemian existence in the capital. Cézanne has rearranged the objects in his studio, and we see them from a high viewpoint, as though he is looking down on them from his easel. On the right a single flower stands in a vase on a table. Behind the stove is a canvas on its stretcher frame, while a palette and what may be a small picture hang on the wall at the left.
Cézanne spent a great deal of time in Paris sketching in the Louvre, where he would have been able to study the work of Chardin. The scrutiny of everyday objects and simple frontal composition are particularly reminiscent of Chardin’s Copper Cistern, which was acquired by the Louvre in 1869.
The first owner of this work was Cézanne’s boyhood friend, the writer Emile Zola.
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