Project Description

Still Life with “Le Crapouillot” (Bodegón con “Le Crapouillot”), 1925

Still Life with “Le Crapouillot” (Bodegón con “Le Crapouillot”), 1925. Oil on canvas 34 3/4 x 29 7/8 inches

This still life is a training piece dating from 1925, clearly showing the influence of Cezanne. Although Esteban Vicente did not arrive in Paris until 1928, he was familiar with Cézanne’s work from magazine reproductions, “there was a bookshop that carried books published by Nuevelles Françaisses on a series of French painters. It was then when I started to learn about the work of Ségonzac, Matisse, Marquet, Picasso, Braque, Cézanne and all the others. That was my situation then. That was how I started to understand the hopelessness of operating in a place like the Madrid of the 20th century”. This work shows a meditated concern for the distribution of the elements and their careful execution. The shapes are decisive, the apples, the jug, the  basket, and even the cloth that spills, like a gully, out of the basket, make this training piece a testimony to the creative capacity of the artist. Nevertheless, there is a certain lack of skill in the positioning of the magazine “Le Crapouillot”, since it is not clear where it comes from and how it is held. The choice of this magazine by the artist is not inconsequential because that publication specialised in the French avant-garde art of which Esteban Vicente aspired to become part.

The light was focussed on the white elements (cloths) and on the bright yellow of the apples which contrasted with the somewhat flat grey of the background.

During those training years Vicente created some other still lifes. There is evidence of the existence of two of them, both dated in 1925. One of them, which is owned by the family, is even closer to the style of Cézanne.