Photo © President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

Many artists of the twentieth century credited Cézanne with revolutionizing painting through his unique style and complex manipulation of perspective, both of which are exemplified in this work. Executed in his hallmark short, small groups of brushstrokes, this scene features an interior in which three-dimensional consistency has been destroyed. This play of impossibility is epitomized in the tablecloth, of which the scholar Meyer Schapiro wrote, “It is like a mountain, a rocky creviced mass, or like some human figure, twisting and turning, with an inner balance of directions.”

Of the many still lifes Cézanne painted, he only repeated the same composition twice. This work is a cropped variation of a canvas now in Munich, showing less of the wallpaper on the left and the tablecloth on the right. Cézanne began both paintings by drawing the composition on the canvas, indicating that the arrangement of the scene was the result of careful and deliberate consideration.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Paul Cézanne, French (Aix-en-Provence 1839 - 1906 Aix-en-Provence)
Still Life with Commode
Work Type
c. 1887-1888
Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1220, European Art, 19th–20th century, Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
View this object's location on our interactive map
Physical Descriptions
Oil on canvas
63.8 x 79.9 cm (25 1/8 x 31 7/16 in.)
framed: 90.8 x 107 x 8.9 cm (35 3/4 x 42 1/8 x 3 1/2 in.)
Inscriptions and Marks
  • inscription: verso, stretcher, white chalk: 1 [encircled]
  • inscription: verso, stretcher, blue ink: 11588 DL
  • label: verso, stretcher, brown square paper label printed with black ink stencil letters: 3758
  • label: verso, stretcher, round white paper label, handwritten in black ink: 3525 / Cezanne / M.LHH
[Ambroise Vollard, Paris]. [Thannhauser, Munich]. [Paul Cassirer Gallery, Berlin].
S. Fischer, Berlin, ( by 1918)."R.P.A." (private collector), Paris, (1939).
[Paul Rosenberg, Paris, (by 1939),sold]; to Maurice Wertheim, (1939 - 1951) bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1951.

Meier-Graefe lists Fischer as owner in 1918.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Fogg Museum, Bequest from the Collection of Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906
Accession Year
Object Number
European and American Art
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Publication History

Ambroise Vollard, Paul Cézanne, Galerie A. Vollard (Paris, France, 1914), p. 146, pl. 48

Paul Cassirer Gallery, Cézanne Ausstellung, exh. cat., Paul Cassirer Gallery (Berlin, Germany, 1918), no. 32

Julius Meier-Graefe, Cézanne und sein Kreis (Munich, Germany, 1918), pl. 171

Julius Meier-Graefe, Cezanne und Sein Kreis, R. Piper & Co Verlag (Munich, 1920), p. 168

E. Bernard, Souvenirs sur Paul Cézanne (Paris, France, 1926), p. 149

De Delacroix à Cézanne et van Gogh, exh. cat., Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen (Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 1933), no. 2

Lionello Venturi, Cézanne, son art, son oeuvre, P. Rosenberg (Paris, 1936), no. 497

Centenaire de Cézanne, exh. cat., Paul Rosenberg Gallery, New York (Paris, France and London, England, 1939), no. 8

Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Cézanne, exh. cat., Paul Rosenberg Gallery, New York (New York, NY, 1942), no. 10

Dorothy Adlow, "Nature Morte à la Commode; a Painting by Paul Cézanne", The Christian Science Monitor (July 16, 1946), p. 6

Alfred M. Frankfurter, "Today's Collectors: Modern Milestones", Art News (June 1946), vol. XLV, no. 4, pp. 28-31, 63-65; p. 64; repr. in b/w p. 29

French Painting since 1870, lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, exh. cat., Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1946), p. 22, repr. p. 23

John Rewald, The History of Impressionism [1st ed.], Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York, NY, 1946), p. 411

Wildenstein Galleries, A Loan Exhibition of Cézanne, exh. cat., Wildenstein Galleries (New York, NY, 1947), no. 25

Six Masters of Post-Impressionism, exh. cat., Wildenstein & Company (New York, NY, 1948), no. 5

La Peinture Française Depuis 1870: Collection Maurice Wertheim, exh. cat., Tom Taylor (Québec, Canada, 1949), no. 11, pp. 30-32

A Collector's Exhibition: Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the Collections of Members of the Advisory Committee of the Institute of Fine Arts., exh. cat., Knoedler & Co. Inc. (New York, NY, 1950), no. 10

John Coolidge, "The Wertheim Collection", Harvard Alumni Bulletin, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA, July 7, 1951), repr. p. 757

Marion Downer, Paul Cézanne, Lothrop, Lee and Shepard (New York, NY, 1951), ill.

Howard Devree, "By French Masters: The Metropolitan Shows Wertheim Collection", The New York Times (New York, NY, July 6 1952), p. 6, p. 6

Meyer Schapiro, Paul Cézanne, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1952), p. 60, ill. p. 61

Charles McMurdy, Pictorial Guide to Modern Art, Macmillan and Co. (New York, NY, 1956), repr.

John Canaday, Mainstreams of Modern Art, Henry Holt and Co. (New York, NY, 1959), repr. p. 352

The Maurice Wertheim Catalogue: Modern French Art-- Monet to Picasso, exh. cat., North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh, NC, 1960), p. 6, repr. p. 7

The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, exh. cat., The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (Houston, TX, 1962), p. 12, pl. 1

Sandra Orienti, L'Opera Completa di Cézanne (Milan, Italy, 1970), no. 471

Sezannu [Cézanne], Chuo Koronsha (Tokyo, Japan, 1972), repr. in color pl. 29; p. 117

The Great Masters of Modern Painting, exh. cat., Japan Art Center (Tokyo, Japan, 1972), pl. 29, p. 117

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, exh. cat., Maine State Museum (Augusta, ME, 1972), no. 2

[Unidentified article], Harvard Bulletin (Cambridge, MA, June 1973), repr. p. 68

Kubismus, exh. cat., Josef Haubrich Kunsthalle (Cologne, Germany, 1982), pp. 15-17, 23

G. Freisinger, "Second Impressions", Harvard Magazine (Cambridge, MA, May 1985 - June 1985), ill. p. 43

Kristin A. Mortimer and William G. Klingelhofer, Harvard University Art Museums: A Guide to the Collections, Harvard University Art Museums and Abbeville Press (Cambridge and New York, 1986), no. 224, p. 196, repr. in color

John O'Brian, Degas to Matisse: the Maurice Wertheim Collection, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and Fogg Art Museum (New York, NY and Cambridge, MA, 1988), no. 17, p. 84, repr. in b/w p. 84; color p. 85; text p. 84 and 86

Michael Hoog, Cezanne: "Puissant et Solitaire", Decouvertes Gallimard/Reunion des Musées Nationaux (Paris, France, 1989), repr. in color p. 74-75

Edgar Peters Bowron, European Paintings Before 1900 in the Fogg Art Museum: A Summary Catalogue including Paintings in the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard University Art Museums (Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 88, color plate; p. 102, 252, repr. b/w cat. no. 373

The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, exh. cat., Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1990), repr. in color no. 30, p. 91

Lawrence S. Cunningham and John J. Reich, Culture and Values: A Survey of the Western Humanities, Harcourt Brace College Publishers (New York, NY, 1994), repr. in color fig. 16.19, p. 372

John Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cezanne: A Catalogue Raisonné, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. (New York, NY, 1996), pp. 415-416 as no. 634, repr. in Vol II as no. 634 on p. 214

Masterpieces of world art : Fogg Art Museum, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Busch-Reisinger Museum, 1997

Drawing and Painting Activities Using Masterworks as Inspiration, Crystal Productions (Glenview IL and Aspen CO, 2003), repr. in color, p. 20

Walter Feilchenfeldt, By Appointment Only: Cezanne, Van Gogh and Some Secrets of Art Dealing, Thames & Hudson (New York, 2006), pp. 152-3, 161, repr. p. 152

Lawrence S. Cunningham and John J. Reich, Culture & Values: A Survey of the Humanities, Thomson Wadsworth (Belmont, CA, 2006), pp. 497-498, repr. in color as fig. 18.19

Paul Smith, "Cézanne's 'Primitive' Perspective, or the 'View from Everywhere'", College Art Association of America (The Art Bulletin, March 2013), vol. XCV, No. 1 , pp. 102-119, p. 115, repr. as fig. 13

Elizabeth M. Rudy, "Researching the Wertheim Collection at the Harvard Art Museums", Collections: A Journal for Museum and Archives Professionals (Summer 2014), Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 301-6, p. 305

Exhibition History

Cezanne Ausstellung, Paul Cassirer Gallery, Berlin, 11/01/1921 - 12/01/1921

Impressionisten Ausstellung, Paul Cassirer Gallery, Berlin, 01/01/1925 - 12/13/1925

De Delacroix à Cézanne et van Gogh, Museum Boymans, Rotterdam, 12/01/1933 - 01/31/1934

Schilderijen van Delacroix tot Cezanne en Vincent Van Gogh, Museum Boymans, Rotterdam

Französische Meister des 19. Jahrhunderts und Van Gogh, Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, 02/18/1934 - 04/02/1934

Centenaire de Cézanne, Paul Rosenberg Gallery, Paris, Paris, 02/01/1939 - 02/28/1939; Rosenberg and Helft Gallery, London, 03/01/1939 - 03/31/1939

Loan Exhibition of Paintings by Cézanne, Rosenberg Gallery, New York, 11/01/1942 - 12/31/1942

French Painting since 1870 lent by Maurice Wertheim, Class of 1906, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 06/01/1946 - 09/07/1946; National Gallery of Art, Washington, 07/01/1953 - 09/13/1953

A Loan Exhibition of Cézanne, Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 03/27/1947 - 04/26/1947

Six Masters of Post-Impressionism, Wildenstein Gallery, New York, New York, 04/08/1948 - 05/08/1948

La Peinture Française depuis 1870, Musée de la Province de Quebec, 07/12/1949 - 08/07/1949

A Collector's Exhibition, M. Knoedler & Co., Newport, 02/06/1950 - 02/25/1950

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 07/01/1952 - 09/14/1952

French Paintings Since 1870 from the Maurice Wertheim Collection, National Gallery of Art, Washington, 06/01/1953 - 09/30/1953

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, 06/15/1957 - 09/15/1957

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, 06/10/1958 - 08/31/1958

The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Modern French Art--Monet to Picasso, North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, 06/17/1960 - 09/04/1960

The Maurice Wertheim Collection: Manet to Picasso, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Houston, 06/13/1962 - 09/02/1962

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, 06/20/1963 - 09/01/1963

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, 06/24/1965 - 09/07/1965

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, 09/03/1968 - 09/22/1968

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Montgomery Museum of Art, Montgomery, 06/01/1971 - 09/30/1971

The Maurice Wertheim Collection, Maine State Museum, Augusta, 06/01/1972 - 09/01/1972

Manet to Matisse: The Maurice Wertheim Collection, IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York, 04/09/1985 - 05/25/1985

The Maurice Wertheim Collection and Selected Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings and Drawings in the Fogg Art Museum, Isetan Department Store, Tokyo, 03/01/1990 - 04/10/1990; Yamaguchi Prefectural Museum of Art, 04/14/1990 - 05/13/1990

Modern Art at Harvard, Bunkamura Museum of Art, Tokyo, 07/31/1999 - 09/26/1999; Takamatsu City Museum of Art, Kagawa, 10/09/1999 - 11/14/1999; Matsuzakaya Art Museum, Nagoya, 12/02/1999 - 12/27/1999; Oita City Museum, Oita, 01/06/2000 - 02/06/2000; Museum of Modern Art, Ibaraki, Ibaraki, 02/11/2000 - 03/26/2000

32Q: 1220 Wertheim, Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, 01/06/2017 - 01/01/2050

Subjects and Contexts

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