The Card Player
Paul Cézanne, French, The Card Player, ca. 1890-1892, Graphite and watercolor on wove paper; 48.6 x 36.2 cm (19 1/8 x 14 5/16 inches), Gift of Mrs. Murray S. Danforth 42.211
While living in Aix-en-Provence, Cézanne used local peasants as his models for a series of drawings and paintings of cardplayers. This preparatory sketch of a cardplayer in a blue smock relates to a finished painting now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. In RISD’s drawing, Cézanne reduced the complex form of the human body to a pure graphic system. Eliminating any complicating details, Cézanne described the seated man by employing multiple, curved contour lines enriched with a system of delicately placed, softer diagonal hatchings. The viewer is obliged to read the areas of untouched paper in the figure as highlighted, volumetric form. The few discreet touches of blue watercolor indicate the color of the smock for the painting and add a hint of shadow and volume.