National Portrait Gallery
26 October 2017 – 11 February 2018
The National Portrait Gallery is to stage the first exhibition devoted entirely to portraits by Paul Cézanne. This major new exhibition, Cézanne Portraits, brings together for the first time over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world.
Portraits previously unseen in the UK include the artist’s arresting Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat(1885-6). Also on UK display for the first time since the 1930s is 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, and Madame Cézanne in a Yellow Chair (1888-90) last exhibited in London in 1936 and 1939 respectively.
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) painted almost 200 portraits during his career, including 26 of himself and 29 of his wife. Cézanne Portraits explores the special pictorial and thematic characteristics of Cézanne’s portraiture, including his creation of complementary pairs and multiple versions of the same subject. The chronological development of Cézanne’s portraiture is 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 also discusses the extent to which particular sitters inflected the characteristics and development of his practice.
Works included in the exhibition 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, made shortly before the artist’s death in 1906.
Cézanne is widely understood to be one of the most influential artists of the nineteenth 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. Both Matisse and Picasso called Cézanne ‘the father of us all.’