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100 Years after death, Cezanne exhibit opens in Britain

100 Years after death, Cezanne exhibit opens in Britain

Paul Cezanne never set foot in Britain. But some of his paintings, drawings and etchings did cross the Channel, and on Wednesday, the National Gallery is opening an exhibit of 43 of them.
A century after Cezanne's death, major galleries around the globe are celebrating art that was not appreciated for most of his life. It was not until 1925 that an exhibit of his art was shown here. The National Gallery once turned down an offer to purchase his work with the derisive rebuff that the museum had no room.
"It's a natural time to assess Cezanne's impact," National Gallery spokeswoman Louise Butler said. "Cezanne was a precursor of the Cubists, people like (Pablo) Picasso. ... He went his own way."
Since his death in October 1906, Cezanne has been called the father of modern painting after a career that included subjects as varied as morbid death scenes in deep hues, to soft, impressionistic landscapes.
During his lifetime, critics found his dark colors, flat brush strokes and unusual proportions jarring. But it is just these pictures that offer the leaps of imagination that make the show so fresh even 100 years later.
The exhibit includes the first Cezanne painting acquired by a British collector and the first displayed in the National Gallery. Other works come from British public and private collections.
A few of the paintings and drawings have never been shown publicly, curator Anne Robbins said. Those pictures include "The Railway Cutting" and "Bathers," which are both from private collections.
Drawn in about 1870, "Railway Cutting" is a small pencil sketch of the view from Cezanne's family home in southern France, showing a cathedral, a rail line and hills in the distance.
"Bathers" is a small oil painting completed sometime between 1890 and 1895. Cezanne was fascinated by bathing scenes _ he painted about 200 of them. One of his earliest, a rarely seen watercolor of a woman diving into water by moonlight, is also on display. For the first time, it is displayed to show both sides of the paper. On the back are two pencil sketches of Cezanne's father.
The art is arranged chronologically, beginning with a portrait of Cezanne's father painted in 1862, which hung in the family home. It proceeds through a trio of dark oil paintings, images that fascinated young Cezanne: "The Autopsy," painted in 1869, "The Murder," painted between 1868 and 1870 and "Abduction," painted in 1867.
Dates on most of the art are approximate, Robbins said, because Cezanne only signed and dated work that he gave away or tried to enter at the Paris Salon.
Among the drawings are images of Cezanne's longtime mistress, Hortense Fiquet, who later became his wife, and their infant son.
The exhibit continues through Cezanne's impressionist period, when he worked with friends like Camille Pisarro. After two shows with the impressionists, where his art received public derision, Cezanne withdrew to his home in Aix-en-Provence in 1880, working in isolation.
The show concludes with some of Cezanne's last works, landscapes focused on a mountain in Aix-en-Provence, the Mont Saint-Victoire.
Galleries in Washington, D.C., and Aix-en-Provence have also hosted Cezanne exhibits to mark the centenary this year, but those focused on his landscapes created in southern France.
The exhibition continues through Jan. 7.
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On The Net:
http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/exhibitions/cezanne/default.htm


Updated : 2021-06-15 16:02 GMT+08:00