Self Portrait Before an Easel
Paul Cézanne ( French, 1839 - 1906 )
In this lithograph, Paul Cézanne portrays himself with the markers of his trade, including a painter’s beret and canvas. Here, however, the artist ironically replaces the lithographic stone with the easel. Lithography would have been an appealing printmaking technique for Cézanne, who was primarily a painter and otherwise not largely invested in prints as part of his artistic practice. This is due to lithography’s nature as a collaborative process, requiring both the artist and a printer familiar with the technique to produce the final work.
Art dealer Ambroise Vollard commissioned Cézanne to create three lithographs for his L’Album des peintures-graveurs (The Album of Painter-Engravers), including this self-portrait. The album was printed by Auguste Clot, Vollard’s in-house printer, who played a key role in the production of prints within the Impressionist movement.
Amy Wojciechowski, DMA label copy, 2017.