First-Ever Exhibition of Cézanne Portraits to Tour London, Washington, and Paris

It is sure to be a blockbuster.

Paul Cézanne, Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat (1885-86). Photo Ole Haupt, courtesy Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.
Paul Cézanne, Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat (1885-86). Photo Ole Haupt, courtesy Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

Dozens of portraits by French Post-Impressionist master Paul Cézanne will come together in a traveling show that is sure to be a blockbuster.

It’s the first time the works have been grouped together for the public. “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,” said National Portrait Gallery director Nicholas Cullinan in an announcement of the show.

Paul Cézanne, <i>Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair</i> (1888-90).. Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago.

Paul Cézanne, Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair (1888-90).. Courtesy Art Institute of Chicago.

Organized by London’s National Portrait Gallery, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC, and the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris, the exhibition is curated by John Elderfield, former Museum of Modern Art chief curator of painting and sculpture. It opens in Paris in June 2017.

More than 50 such paintings will be marshaled from public collections worldwide, representing a quarter of his output in that genre. Among lenders to the show are the Art Institute of Chicago, which is lending his Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair (1888-90) and the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek museum in Copenhagen, which owns his painting Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat (1885-86).

Paul Cézanne, <i>Boy in a Red Waistcoat</i> (1888-1890). Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Paul Cézanne, Boy in a Red Waistcoat (1888-1890). Courtesy National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Both Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, points out the National Portrait Gallery in a press release, called Cézanne “the father of us all,” and his influence can be seen in a range of artist’s works. An exhibition catalogue will feature essays by Elderfield, National Gallery of Art curator Mary Morton, and Xavier Rey, curator at the Musée d’Orsay, along with notes on the artist’s subjects by his biographer, the late Alex Danchev.

“Cézanne Portraits” will be at the Musée d’Orsay, Paris (June 13, 2017-September 24, 2017), the National Portrait Gallery, London (October 26, 2017-February 11, 2018), and the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC (March 25–July 1, 2018).


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