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Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne

Linda Blair, MA

This four-lecture class will revisit a popular 2013 class devoted to Vincent Van Gogh and Paul Cezanne and will include new research, especially the findings of a recent Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam) exhibition, On the Verge of Insanity.

Van Gogh and Cezanne first met in Paris in 1886. They despised each other, a contempt that spilled over in their opinions of each other's art. That is hardly surprising, for their painting styles were totally antithetical — in form, color, and emotional content — a contrast highly instructive in the basic, formal values of art.

Vincent injects his emotional response into his subject matter; Cezanne, aloof from his subject matter, erects psychological barriers in his canvases. We can't find Cezanne, the man, in his paintings; in Vincent's, we can't avoid him. Cezanne's paintings must be studied carefully, filtered through the intellect; Vincent's work is a punch in the gut. Both artists' paintings are unsettling studies of high versus suppressed emotion, and of the struggles of two deeply troubled personalities.

April 5: The Impressionist Revolt Against Traditional Art

The class opens with historical context, the Impressionist revolt against traditional art. Van Gogh and Cezanne were beneficiaries of this earlier movement, but they represent the next generation and will have to define their own respective styles of art.

April 12: Vincent van Gogh

This class will be devoted to Vincent van Gogh, his life, his art, including his bold color, and the inner conflicts that play out across his paintings.

April 19: Vincent van Gogh: On the Verge of Insanity

This lecture continues the exploration of Van Gogh's art, his episodic psychotic attacks, and the relationship of his illness to his art. It ends with an examination of the recently propounded ideas presented in the Van Gogh Museum exhibition in Amsterdam.

May 3: The Multi-Layered and Paradoxical Art of Paul Cezanne

This final lecture is given over to the highly complex, multi-layered art of Paul Cezanne — art that can be tough to grasp. Cezanne is a study in paradoxes: although identified with avant garde artists, he remains a Classical painter; yet, embedded in tradition, he is far more innovative than van Gogh, and his impact on subsequent art is far greater.

Instructor: Linda Blair, a longtime Osher favorite, has taught art history for many years, in the East, where she was also a docent at The Cloisters, at the Athenaeum Library in La Jolla, and at our Osher Institute. Her BA is from Mills College and her MA in history is from the University of San Diego. She is a co-founder of the UCSD “Town and Gown” volunteer organization, which is dedicated to raising scholarship funds for university students.

Coordinator: Steve Clarey

Course Number: OSHR-70055   Credit: 0 units


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Upcoming Sections

Dates Class Type Section ID Fee Status
04/05/2017 - 05/03/2017 In-class 123301 $10.00 Closed

Day and Time: Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Location: Room 129, UCSD Extension Complex, 9600 N. Torrey Pines Rd., La Jolla