Abstract Canvas Prints No 70 : The Master of Aix
That was the nickname Cézanne was given by his contemporaries, after choosing to exchange the gaiety of Paris for nearly 40 years of self-imposed isolation in the area around his family home in Aix-en-Province in the south of France.
Like Monet in Giverny, or Van Gogh in Arles, Cézanne became captivated by studying his particular landscape.
Hockney had continued the tradition of total immersion by discovering his own inspiring location near to where he was born in Yorkshire: a special place in which he, like Cézanne , has spent years studying nature, light and colours, in an attempt better to understand how to represent what he sees and feels.
Maybe it’s because of the time he has spent in Hollywood that Hockney feels so compelled to discuss the negative effects that he feels the camera has had an art.
He directs a damning finger at the one-eyed monster in all its guises; photography, film and television.
He believes it is the camera that has caused many of today’s artists to forsake figurative art, having decided that a single Mechanical lens can catch a reality better than any painter or sculptor.
‘But they’re wrong,’ he told me, ‘a camera cannot see what the human can see, there is always something missing.’ If Cézanne were alive, he would have been nodding vigorously in agreement, pointing out that a photograph documents a split second in time that happens to have been caught on the camera.
Whereas a landscape painting, portrait or still life might appear to be a moment immortalised in a single image, but it is in fact the culmination of days, weeks and in the case of many artists (Cézanne, Monet, Van Gogh, Gauguin and Hockney), years of looking at a single subject.
It is the result of vast quantities of stored information, experience, jottings and spatial study that has eventually appeared in the colours, composition and atmosphere of a final finished artwork.