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Paul C?zanne, 1839-1906

Sketch after Puget's 'Milo of Croton'

Description:Read An Essay On This Drawing

Throughout his career, Paul Cézanne frequently turned to works in museums for inspiration. He was particularly devoted to the practice of drawing after sculpture, with more than three-quarters of the copies that he executed throughout his lifetime devoted to such images. This pencil drawing is one of twelve works that he made after Pierre Puget's well-known marble Milo of Croton, which was part of the Louvre's collection and well known to Cézanne.1 Aside from his fame as a baroque sculptor of the first order, Puget (1620-1694) was considered by Cézanne to be an early artistic hero of the Provençal region. He is reported to have told his friend and biographer Joachim Gasquet that when he felt homesick for Aix-en-Provence, he would go to see the Pugets in the Louvre.2 Cézanne even painted Puget's house in the Riaux valley near L'Estaque on at least one occasion, perhaps underscoring the personal importance of this fellow artist from the south of France.3

The Milo of Croton was one of three statues originally commissioned from Puget for the gardens of Versailles.4 All three works were depictions of strength in various forms, with the Milo of Croton signifying strength being overcome by suffering and death.5 In the legend, Milo, a Greek athlete known for his great power, becomes trapped in a tree he was attempting to tear apart with his bare hands. A wild beast, in this case a lion, devours him as he struggles to escape. As dated by Chappuis, Cézanne's copies of the Puget sculpture span the artist's career, ranging from the 1860s to the late 1890s. Of the twelve drawings of the statue, seven of them, including the Baltimore version, feature the right side of the figure. In the present version, Cézanne has carefully studied the mass and distribution of volumes and provides the most complete view of the original marble, even including the saucer that is placed between Milo's legs at the base of the work. With his use of free and exaggerated lines and forms, the artist concentrates on accurately depicting the agony and suffering of the Greek hero as he loses his battle.

Before entering the collection of The Baltimore Museum of Art in 1950, this Sketch After Puget's "Milo of Croton" was owned by Frederic W. Cone, the youngest brother of noted collectors Claribel and Etta Cone. Adelyn Breeskin, the former director of the museum, recalled that Etta Cone had told her that she had given her brother the drawing as a gift.6 Etta Cone began to assemble a small group of works by Cézanne in 1906, when she bought a lithograph by the artist. She and her sister went on to acquire two oils and one drawing; Etta Cone would add one additional lithograph by the time of her death in 1949.

The Cone sisters were first introduced to Cézanne's work in Paris by their close friends Gertrude Stein (1874-946) and her brother, Leo (1872-1947), one of the key figures in the dissemination of Cézanne's work in the United States. Leo Stein's role as an influential figure in avant-garde Parisian circles between 1905 and 1913 was essential to Cézanne's reputation among visiting Americans. Slowly but surely, Cézanne's significance began to grow in the United States as well. Alfred Stieglitz hosted his first monographic exhibition at the Gallery of the Photo-Secession in 1911 with an installation of watercolors. By the time Frederic Cone obtained this sketch in the late 1930s, Cézanne's work was well known and frequently acquired in the United States by a small but influential group of collectors and museums. Katy Rothkopf

1. See A. Chappuis, The Drawings of Paul Cézanne (Greenwich, 1975), nos. 207, 502-6, 976-78, 1131, 1200-1201.

2. J. Gasquet, Cézanne(Paris, 1921), 115-16.

3. See Cézanne's Houses in Provence--The Riaux Valley Near L'Estaque, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, 1973.68.1.

4. F. Cachin et al., Cézanne, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia, 1996), 240.

5. Chappuis 1975, 95.

6. Museum object file.

Medium: Graphite on cream, medium-weight, moderately-textured laid paper
Dimensions: Sheet: 478 x 314 mm.
Date: ca. 1890
Category: portrait
Subject: Lion Man Nude
Inscriptions and Markings: (Pale blue ink stamp, 'CONE', lost in aqueous conservation treatment, 1979.)
Exhibition History: Terence Maloon, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 'The Classic C?zanne', Nov. 28, 1998-Feb. 28, 1999, p. 183, no. 57, ill. The Baltimore Museum of Art, 'Matisse, Picasso and Friends: Masterworks on Paper from the Cone Collection', June 7-Aug. 27, 1995; circulated to Cleveland Museum of Art, Dec. 3, 1996-Jan. 26, 1997; Seattle Art Museum, Feb. 25-Apr. 20, 1997; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, May 18-July 13, 1997. The Baltimore Museum of Art, 'Master Drawings by French Artists in the Museum's Collection', May 14-July 23, 1989. Victor Carlson and Carol Hynning Smith, Baltimore Museum of Art, 'Master Drawings and Watercolors of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries', Aug. 1979-Aug. 1980, p. 68, no. 27, ill. p. 69; circulated by American Federation of Arts. The Baltimore Museum of Art, 'Prints and Drawings from The Baltimore Museum of Art', loan exhibition circulated to Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento, Nov. 2-Dec. 2, 1973; Honolulu Academy of Arts, Jan. 17-Feb. 17, 1974; and Ackland Art Center, Chapel Hill, NC, April 2-21, 1974. Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C., 'C?zanne', Feb. 27-Mar. 28, 1971, p. 109, no. 82; circulated to Art Institute of Chicago, Apr. 17-May 16; and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, June 1-July 3, 1971. Lorenz Eitner, University Gallery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 'The Nineteenth Century: 125 Master Drawings', Mar. 26-Apr. 23, 1962, no. 13, not illustrated; circulated to the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, May 10-June 30, 1962. The Baltimore Museum of Art, 'From Ingres to Gauguin', Nov.-Dec. 1951, p. 41, no. 148, ill. p. 41.
Bibliography: The International Review published by The Drawing Society, Vol. XVII, No.1, May - June 1995, p.4, ill. Adrien Chappuis, The Drawings of Paul C?zanne, Greenwich: New York Graphic Society, 1975, no. 976. Gertrude Berthold, C?zanne und die alten meister, Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer, 1958, p. 90, no. 98. The Baltimore Museum of Art, Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings in the Cone Collection, 1955, p. 19 (revised edition 1967, p. 72, no. 175, ill. p. 60). Paul Sachs, Modern Prints and Drawings, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1954, Plate 30, p. 40. G. G. G?rlich, C?zanne: 76 Disegni, Milan: G?rlich, 1944, no. 23. Robert Rey, La Renaissance du sentiment classique, Paris: Les Beaux-Arts, n.d. [c. 1931], plate 1, p. 84. J. Meier-Graefe, C?zanne und sein Kreis, Munich: Piper Verlag, 1922, p. 142. Joachim Gasquet, C?zanne, Paris: Bernheim Jeune, 1921, p. 114 (revised 1926, p. 190).
Provenance: BMA by bequest, 1950; Frederic W. Cone; Galerie Rosengart, Lucerne; Galerie Thannhauser, Lucerne, before 1936 [per Venturi]; Bernheim-Jeune, Paris.
Collection: The Baltimore Museum of Art
Credit Line: The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Cone Collection, Bequest of Frederic W. Cone
Object Number: BMA 1950.12.657