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Video : Paul Cezanne. 
The Card Players. 


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Paul Cezanne. The Card Players 
or the Way towards the Abstraction. 

Paul Cezanne (1839 - 1906). 
The Card Players. 
97 × 130 cm. Impressionism

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In the neighborhoods of 1890 to 1895 
Paul Cezanne paints 5 paintings whose 
subject is the same one : The Card players. 

It’s a rather banal scene of kind in the 
coffees of the south of France. 

The first painting is in the Barnes Fondation 
in Pennsylvania, there are 3 players 
and 2 spectators. Framing is broad. 

The second painting is in the Metropolitan 
Museum of New York there are 3 players and 
1 spectator framing is always broad. 

The third painting is in the Courtauld 
Institute in London it remains only 
2 players who face, framing is still broad. 

The fourth painting is with the Museum 
of Orsay to Paris framing is a little tighter. 

The fifth painting belongs to the royal 
family of Qatar, framing is tightened even 
more, the colours changed, there are a strong 
clearly-obscure contrast and an opposition 
of forms and colours. 

The first painting which is a figurative scene 
of kind to the fifth painting with extremely 
reduced framing where 2 different forms 
(the rectangle and the circle) oppose in a 
contrary colours, Cézanne traced the way 
towards the abstract art. 

The painting of Franz Marc, 
Forms Fighting of 1914, illustrates this fact. 

Point of view : 

Framing : 

Division :

Lines : 

Details : 

Light : 

Colours : 

Contrast between complementary colors.

Zoom : 

Similar Paintings :


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Point of view.

The point of view of the spectator is at the 
level of the face of the players, exactly above 
the stopper of the wine bottle. 

The spectator is immediately struck by the 
2 men and the 2 masses which are opposed.

Framing being very tightened the scene 
especially gives the impression of an intense 
fight by the difference between the 2 forms 
and the colours which are completely contrary. 


The 4 natural points of interest are used. 
They are located on the arms and the 
faces of the players. (The pipe here is 
used like a prolongation of the face). 


All that is on the left is dark and of 
rectangular form. All that is on the right 
is clear and circular. The table is the playing 
field, the bottle placed at the center 
symbolizes the referee.

The vertical and horizontal lines reinforce 
the framing of the painting.
For the characters Cezanne uses 
the 2 large diagonals. 

Details : 

For the protagonists the artist takes as a 
starting point people whom it has truly knew.

It would be about the Father Alexandre, 
the gardener of the property 
of the father of Cezanne.

To play charts the hands of the 
2 players are too close.
The artist uses this artifice to accentuate 
the feeling of opposition between the 2 men.


The light comes from the back of the 
character of left. The man with the clear 
clothes is enlightened of face, which 
reinforces even more clearly-obscure 
contrast. His companion is him enlightened back. 

It is a lighting worthy of 
Caravage or Vermeer. 

Colours : Contrast between 
complementary colours. 

Similar Paintings :

Paul Cézanne. The Card Players. 1892-1893.
97 × 130 cm, Collection of the Royal Family of Qatar.

Paul Cézanne. The Card Players. 1890 - 1892. 
134 × 181,5 cm, Barnes Foundation, Merion, Pennsylvania. 

Paul Cézanne. The Card Players. 1892–1893.
65 × 81 cm, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York. 

Paul Cézanne. The Card Players. 1892–1895. 
60 × 73 cm, Courtauld Institute, London.

Paul Cézanne. The Card Players. 1892–1895.
47,5 cm × 57 cm, Museum of Orsay. Paris.