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PRINT October 1995

Son of Cézanne

THE TRANSPARENCY AND DELICACY of the Analytical Cubist style were largely used by its founders to transform solid, compact, often rather massive objects: clusters of houses; chunky trees; sturdy tables bearing bulky instruments or containers; single human figures shown head-and-shoulders or truncated to half- or three-quarters-length, so that they are firmly grounded. That is to say, though late Cézanne was the source of their style, Braque and Picasso evaded many of late Cézanne’s key motifs: stretches of land or water or sky; long tapering branches of trees; full-length figures; groups of bathers. Braque and Picasso declined to deal with things like spindly limbs, whether of trees or of human beings; they focused on things that were ample and stable as the pyramids.

Mondrian’s Analytical Cubism began where theirs left off: with Gray Tree, usually said to have been painted in 1912 but

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