Cézanne at the National Portrait Gallery
"We are thrilled to be able to bring together so many of his portraits for the first time to reveal arguably the most personal, and therefore most human, aspect of Cézanne’s art."
Matisse and Picasso called him “the father of us all”, while others refer to him as the “messiah of modernism”. It’s fair to say then that French artist and post-impressionist painter Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) certainly created an aesthetic stir, his work laying the foundation of transition from the 19th century concept of artistic endeavour to the new and radically different perspective of art in the 20th century.
The National Portrait Gallery is presenting an iconic stage for the first exhibition devoted entirely to portraits by Paul Cézanne. From 26 October this year until 11 February 2018, this major new exhibition will bring together more than 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works never before seen in the UK. The exhibition will range from Cezanne’s remarkable portraits of his Uncle Dominique, dating from the 1860s, through to his final portraits of Vallier, who helped Cézanne in his garden and studio at Les Lauves, Aix-en-Provence, made shortly before the artist’s death in 1906. The paintings are drawn from museums and private collections in Brazil, Denmark, France, Japan, Russia, Sweden, the UK and the US.
Cézanne is widely understood to be one of the most influential artists of the 19th century. Generally categorised as a post-impressionist, his unique method of building form with colour, and his analytical approach to nature influenced the art of cubists, fauvists, and successive generations of avant-garde artists. The chronological development of Cézanne’s portraiture will be considered, with an examination of the changes that occurred with respect to his style and method, and his understanding of resemblance and identity.
The exhibition will also discuss the extent to which particular sitters inflected the characteristics and development of his practice. Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director, National Portrait Gallery, London, said: “We are delighted to be staging this once in a lifetime exhibition in collaboration with the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC. Up until now, Cezanne’s portraiture has received surprisingly little attention, so we are thrilled to be able to bring together so many of his portraits for the first time to reveal arguably the most personal, and therefore most human, aspect of Cézanne’s art.”
Top Image – Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat (1885-6) on loan from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek gallery in Copenhagen.
Below – Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair (1888-90) on loan from The Art Institute of Chicago, last exhibited in London in 1936 and 1939 respectively.
Bottom – Boy in a red waistcoat 1888-90 one of a series of paintings of a young man in Italian clothes identified as Michelangelo de Rosa, from the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.
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