London: Hailed as a “once in a lifetime” exhibition, the Cézanne Portraits exhibition is leaving Paris for London’s National Portrait Gallery. The first major exhibition dedicated entirely to Cézanne’s portraiture, the show brings together 50 pieces from collections in Brazil, Denmark, France, Japan, Russia, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Of these 50 pieces, several have never before been publicly exhibited in the UK, including Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat (1885-86) from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek gallery in Copenhagen. Returning to the UK for the first time since the 1930s are Boy in a Red Waistcoat (1888-90) and Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair (1888-90).
Called “the father of us all” by both Picasso and Matisse, Cézanne remains known predominantly for his landscapes and still life artwork despite producing over 200 portraits. Cézanne Portraits seeks to spotlight the artist’s lesser-known talent as a portrait artist, by examining the chronological evolution of the Post-Impressionist artist’s portraiture, as well as the changes in technique, method and style depending on the sitters. Subjects include Cézanne’s uncle Dominique, a young man believed to be Michelangelo de Rosa, and the gardener/caretaker Vallier, painted shortly before the artist’s death.
Dr Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, explained the importance of the exhibition, “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.”
The Cézanne Portraits exhibition first opened at Paris’s Musée d’Orsay in June 2017, closing in late September. Following its run at London’s National Portrait Gallery, the show will head to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, USA.