The present work “Nature Morte à la pastèque” was executed in the early years of the artist stay in Egypt.
The artist, was as mentioned by Fred Leeman (Emile Bernard (1668-1941) Wildenstein Institute 2013, page 249) reconsidering his artistic approach, “developing a very diversified practice where he didn’t limit himself to the rigorous theories of Synthetism” rather investigating new approaches.
His still lives, more naturalistic and geometrically constructed seems to be influenced by Paul Cezanne’s brushwork, showing the artist’s great admiration for Cezanne’s work.
Indeed, the artist, after his return to France, will spend a few months in Aix regularly meeting with the Aix-en Provence based artist, and engage in correspondence with Cezanne which will last until 1905. It appears as both artists had genuine respect for each other and shared a mutual interest for classical paintings.
Heralding Cezanne as one of the most “expert” and “a master, his mentor from the very first”, the artist, in this still life, depicts a watermelon with apples and dates, employing a constructed brushstroke combined with a harmoniously balanced palette of colours.
“The balance of the purple tablecloth with the light green colours of the apples highlights the artist preferences for colours”, while the black contours around the fruits, recall the Synthetic technique. This work exemplifies the artist’s interest in classical compositions, whereby he was exploring new forms of colours and lines associations.
Sold to Mr Ambroise Vollard on May 22th, 1901.
Private Collection, Paris
The work is accompanied with a certificate by Ms.Elisabeth Altarriba.