Cézanne had a particular enthusiasm for still life paintings, and produced a number of them over the years. He often used similar objects, but arranged them in different ways to create different artistic problems to explore.
Comparing different still lifes also provides an opportunity to see Cézanne's overall style change over the years. The early 1880s works tended to be solid and compact, whilst the later works, such as the one which has just come up for sale at Sotheby's explore more complex spatial relationships.
Pichet et Fruits sur une Table, painted in 1893-4, is a still-life painted at the pinnacle of Cézanne's experimentation with still-life. The various pieces are well-spaced out in the elongated picture, and the background allows the work to appear illuminated rather than trapped in the lighting of a room.
Cézanne's still lifes have long been regarded as his greatest and most influential works, and this particularly desirable example is expected to sell for $10-15m in Sotheby's Impressionist and Modern Art sale on February 3.