Saturday, January 14, 2017

Christie’s Old Master & British Drawings January 24, Old Master Prints January 25,

Christie’s Old Master & British Drawings sale on January 24 is comprised of 131 lots including works from distinguished private collections and institutions. Important works leading the sale are  

Francisco de Goya’s  Hunter with his dog in a landscape 
PETER PAUL RUBENS (Siegen 1577-1640 Antwerp)Scipio Africanus welcomed outside the gates of Rome, after Giulio Romano, black chalk, pen and ink, brown wash, grey, cream, white and touches of green bodycolor with heightening in oil. Estimate: $500,000-700,000.

and a lavish design by Peter Paul Rubens inspired by a composition by Renaissance artist Giulio Romano.

The sale features a strong selection of Italian drawings including studies by Giacomo Cavedone, Parmigianino  and Taddeo Zuccaro, together with several works inspired by Michelangelo by Battista Franco, Giulio Clovio and Cesare da Sesto’s early study after the Sistine ceiling. Works by Piazzetta, Giovanni Battista and Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo, Piranesi and Francesco Guardi constitute the highlights of an outstanding selection of Venetian drawings.

Highlights from the British section include A male nude by Henry Fuseli, and works by Gainsborough and Burne-Jones. Charles de la Fosse’s preparatory study for the painting The Virgin’s Coronation with a selection of nineteenth-century works round out the sale.

The sale of Old Master Prints encompasses 220 prints from five centuries, offering an in-depth survey of the printed image in Europe, from Martin Schongauer’s (1450-1491) engravings created in the 1470s to

 a View of San Francisco by the French Charles Meryon (1821-1868), printed around 1855.

Classic prints by the most celebrated and widely collected artist-printmakers, including Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528), Rembrandt (1606-1669), and Francisco de Goya (1746-1828), stand side by side with extreme rarities, such as an anonymous, hand-coloured woodcut of the Virgin nursing the Child, printed in Northern Italy around 1530; one of a few surviving devotional prints of the period.
The estimates vary as much as the dimensions of the works: the exquisite little engravings by Hans Sebald Beham (1500-1550) are the size of a postage stamp, while the monumental woodcut  

AFTER TIZIANO VECELLIO, CALLED TITIAN (CIRCA 1488-1576), The Submersion of Pharaoh’s Army in the Red Sea the complete woodcut printed from 12 blocks, circa 1514-15. Estimate: $200,000-300,000.

The Submersion of Pharaoh’s Army (estimate: $200,000-300,000) after a design by Titian leads the sale and fills an entire wall in its scale.

Sotheby’s MASTER PAINTINGS EVENING SALE 25 January 2017: Orazio Gentilesch

Following the record-breaking sale of 

Orazio Gentileschi’s Danaë 

in January 2016, the Master Paintings Evening sale will be led by another striking painting by the artist:  

Head of a Woman (estimate $2/3 million), 

last seen in the landmark exhibition on Orazio and Artemisia Gentileschi at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2001. One of only two known panel paintings by the artist, Head of a Woman was executed during the first half of the 1630s, when Gentileschi was working at the court of King Charles I of England. Based on the inventory records and notes from 1637 / 1639, the picture was purchased from the artist by the King, suggesting that the King responded to the work personally, and had not directly commissioned it. Coming to the market for the first time in nearly three decades, the work is being sold in part to benefit the Department of European Painting and Sculpture at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. 

The sale also offers an outstanding group of Spanish paintings: from a large-scale religious scene by Francisco de Zurbarán, to a late work attributed to El Greco, to a detailed still life by Pedro de Camprobín y Passano. 

Leading the group is a newly-discovered painting attributed to Velázquez: Kitchen Still Life (estimate $1.5/2 million). According to renowned scholar William B. Jordan, the work is the only pure bodegón pantry painting of its kind by the artist. Qualities and aspects from this humble and intimate painting depicting kitchen utensils are replicated in other works by Velázquez, 

including ‘The Old Woman Frying Eggs’, in the National Gallery of Scotland. 

The Spanish section will also include a rare first edition of Francisco Goya’s first and most celebrated printed work Los Caprichos. [Madrid: Printed by Rafael Esteve for the artist, 1799.] (estimate $500/700,000). Consisting of 80 plates in the original binding, the book is generally considered the artist’s finest printed work, and remembered for its satirical presentation of society’s follies; many specific themes and allusions defy interpretation. 

The Master Paintings Evening and Day Sales feature five Florentine tondi from the Italian Renaissance. Leading the group is The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saint John the Baptist and an Angel ( estimate $600/800,000), a late work by Sandro Botticelli and workshop. Most likely painted in the last five years of his life, the work features Botticelli’s crisp drapery folds and sharp outlines – distinguishing characteristics of his late works. 

A similar work, without the angel.

Furthermore, the sale will offer a newly-discovered work by the celebrated Flemish painter Sir Peter Paul Rubens. Study of a Horse with a Rider (estimate $1/1.5 million) is a rare example of a large-scale animal study by the artist. Until recently the painting had been described as by a follower of Sir Anthony Van Dyck, however the authorship had been difficult to discern due to overpaint and background added later that dominated the original scene. With the removal of these later additions, the canvas has been revealed as a work of high quality, and a typical example of the spirited and rapidly painted oil sketches for which Rubens is celebrated. A similar composition and pose is evident in the foreground of Rubens’ Henry IV at the Siege of Amiens, at the Gothenburg Museum of Art. 

Jean-Honoré Fragonard’s The Fountain of Love ( estimate $1.5/2.5 million) is one of four allegorical portrayals of love that the artist executed in the 1780s. The present work is one of the artist’s most distinguished compositions of his mature career – versions of the celebrated composition hang in the Wallace Collection, London and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. The work, which combines a classical story with an atmosphere and dynamism, has enchanted audiences for centuries. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velazquez

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao

September 30, 2016, to January 8, 2017

The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao presents Francis Bacon: From Picasso to Velázquez, an exhibition of almost 80 works including some of the most important and yet least exhibited paintings by this British artist born in Ireland, alongside the works of the classic masters from French and Spanish culture who played a huge role in his career. Transgressive in both is life and his art, Bacon broke down many barriers that were deeply entrenched at the time, placing human beings in front of a mirror in which we could see ourselves in a raw, violent way.

Portraits, nudes, landscapes, bullfighting... the exhibition offers a new perspective on Bacon’s oeuvre by highlighting the influence that French and Spanish cultures exerted on his art.

Bacon created a new universe of images conceived via literature, film, art, and his own life using a totally unique language, reflecting human vulnerability with utter rawness.

Bacon’s nudes tend to feature isolated figures in everyday poses which the painter transformed by twisting their bodies into almost animal-like shapes, thus reinventing the portrait.

Francis Bacon Three Studies for a Crucifixion , 1962 Oil on canvas, three panels 198.1 x 144.8 cm, each panel Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 64.1700 © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved DACS/VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016 

Francis Bacon Three Studies of Figures on Beds, 1972 Oil and pastel on canvas Three panels, 198 x 147.5 cm each Esther Grether Family Collection © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. DACS/VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016 Photo: Bildpunkt AG, Münchenstein 

Francis Bacon Study for Self- Portrait , 1976 Oil and pastel on canvas 198 x 147.5 cm Art Gallery of New South Wales, Purchased 1978 © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved DACS/VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016 Photo: © Jenni Carter, Viscopy 

Francis Bacon Portrait of Michel Leiris , 1976 Oil on canvas 34 x 29 cm Centre Pompidou, Paris  – Musée national d’art moderne. Centre de création industri elle, Donation Louise et Michel Leiris, 1984  © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved DACS/VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016 Photo © Centre Pompidou, MNAM -CCI, Dist. RMN Grand  Palais / Bertrand Prévost 

Francis Bacon Study for Self- Portrait , 1981 Oil, pastel and dry transfer lettering on canvas 198 x 147.5 cm Private collection  © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved DACS/VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016 Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. 

Francis  Bacon Study of a Bull , 1991 Oil, aerosol paint and dust on canvas 198 x 147.5 cm Private collection, London © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved DACS/VEGAP, Bilbao, 2016 Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. 

El Greco Saint Francis in Prayer Before the Crucifix , ca. 1585 Oil on canvas 105.5 x 86.5 cm Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao 

Diego Velázquez The Buffoon el Primo , 1644 Oil on canvas 106.5 x 82.5 cm Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid 

Pablo Picasso Composition ( Female Figure at the Beach ) [ Composition ( Figure féminine sur une plage )], 1927 Oil on canvas 18.8 x 17.6 cm Private collection  © Sucesión Pablo Picasso, VEGAP, Madrid 2016 

Alberto Giacometti Bust of a Man in a frame ( Buste d’homme dans un cadre ), ca. 1946 Oil on canvas 28.1 x 22.4 cm Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, Paris  

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Canaletto and the Art of Venice


Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace 

19 May - 12 November 2017

The Bacino di S. Marco on Ascension Day by Canaletto
In 1762 the young monarch George III purchased virtually the entire collection of Joseph Smith, the greatest patron of art in Venice at the time. Thanks to this single acquisition, the Royal Collection contains one of the finest groups of 18th-century Venetian art in the world, including the largest collection of works by Giovanni Antonio Canal, better known as Canaletto.

Through over 200 paintings, drawings and prints from the Royal Collection's exceptional holdings, Canaletto and the Art of Venice presents the work of Venice's most famous view-painter alongside that of his contemporaries, including Sebastiano and Marco Ricci, Rosalba Carriera, Francesco Zuccarelli, Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and Pietro Longhi, and explores how they captured the essence and allure of Venice for their 18th-century audience, as they still do today.

Joseph Smith (c.1674−1770) was an English merchant and later British Consul in Venice, a post dealing with Britain’s maritime, commercial and trading interests.  He had moved to Italy in around 1700 and over several decades built up an outstanding art collection, acting as both patron and dealer to many contemporary Venetian artists.  Smith was Canaletto's principal agent, selling his paintings to the wealthy Grand Tourists who were drawn to Venice's cultural attractions.  His palazzo on the Grand Canal became a meeting place for collectors, patrons, scholars and tourists, where visitors could admire his vast collection and commission their own versions of Canaletto's views to take home.

One of the most important of Smith's commissions from Canaletto was the series of 12 paintings of the Grand Canal, which together create a near complete journey down the waterway.  Canaletto's sharp-eyed precision makes these views seem powerfully real, yet he rearranged and altered elements of each composition to create ideal impressions of the city. Two larger paintings are of festivals, including the 'Sposalizio del Mar', or 'Wedding of the Sea', which took place on Ascension Day and attracted crowds of British visitors.  The Grand Canal was a subject frequently captured by Canaletto, including in a series of six drawings, among them Venice: The central stretch of the Grand Canal, c.1734.  Intended as works of art in their own right, rather than as preparatory studies for paintings, the drawings are carefully constructed and rich in tone and detail.

Alongside the grand public entertainments, Venice boasted a thriving opera and theatre scene, especially during carnival season.  The need to create stage sets within a very short period of time provided plentiful employment for Venetian artists.  Both Marco Ricci and Canaletto worked for the theatre, where they learned how to manipulate perspective to heighten drama.  The exhibition includes several of Ricci's designs for the Venetian stage, such as A room with a balcony supported by Atlantes, c.1726.  Marco Ricci also produced caricatures of opera singers, such as the drawing of the internationally famed castrato Farinelli, which were circulated among Joseph Smith and his fellow Venetian collectors and opera aficionados.

On display together for the first time are personifications of the Four Seasons by Rosalba Carriera, whose pastels were highly prized by European collectors.  They were intended to be hung in private domestic spaces, such as dressing rooms, bedrooms or small antechambers.  Carriera was one of the first artists to develop a commercial relationship with Joseph Smith, and her sensual pastel of 'Winter', c.1726, an allegorical female figure wrapped in furs, was one of the most admired works in Smith's collection.

Canaletto, Marco Ricci and Francesco Zuccarelli all contributed to the development of the genre known as the capriccio – scenes combining real and imaginary architecture, often set in an invented landscape, to create poetically evocative works.  The ruins of ancient Rome in both

Marco Ricci, Caprice View with Roman Ruins,c.1729
Royal Collection Trust/(c)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Ricci's Caprice View with Roman Ruins, c.1729,

and Zuccarelli's pastoral scene Landscape with Classical Ruins, Cattle and Figures, c.1741–2, convey a sense of the irrevocable loss of a great age.

Canaletto, Venice: The Bacino di S. Marco on Ascension
Day, c.1733-4
Royal Collection Trust/(c)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Marco Ricci, Farinelli in walking dress, c.1729-30
Royal Collection Trust/(c)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Canaletto, Venice: The Central Stretch of the Grand Canal, c.1734
Royal Collection Trust/(c)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Marco Ricci, A room with a balcony supported by Atlantes, c.1726
Royal Collection Trust/(c)Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

There was a major revival in printmaking in Venice in the 18th century, with many publishers recruiting established artists, such as Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and Antonio Visentini, to provide designs for their publications.  Joseph Smith was an enthusiastic print collector and one of the major supporters of contemporary printmaking in Venice.  Smith financed and directed the Pasquali press, which contributed to the circulation of Enlightenment ideas, such as those of Isaac Newton, and imported banned foreign texts into Venice, including the work of Voltaire.  Visentini was the chief draughtsman for the press, providing many hundreds of pen and ink drawings of initials and tailpieces, several of which will be on display in the exhibition.

Matisse and American Art

Montclair Art Museum, Montclair NJ
February 5–June 18, 2017

Montclair Art Museum will present Matisse and American Art, the first exhibition to examine this French master’s profound impact upon the development of American modern art from 1907 to the present. His art has provided a liberating model for American artists’ varied explorations of vibrant color, strong, fluid lines, and clear compositional structures in their pursuits of self-expression.

Featuring 65 paintings, archival objects, sculpture, prints, and works on paper, Matisse and American Art will juxtapose 19 works by Matisse with 44 works by American artists, including Max Weber, Alfred Maurer, Maurice Prendergast, Stuart Davis, Richard Diebenkorn, Robert Motherwell, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Romare Bearden, John Baldessari, Sophie Matisse, Faith Ringgold, and Helen Frankenthaler.

Matisse’s transformative impact on their works is revealed not only by their adaptations of his palette and pictorial structures but also through their choice and appropriation of his subject matter—still lifes, landscapes, figurative works, studio interiors, and portraits. While previous projects have illuminated Matisse’s relationship with postwar artists, this will be the first exhibition to expand Matisse’s impact beyond the typical focus upon the New York School by extending it back to the beginning of the 20th century and forward to the 21st.

The exhibition will open with an introductory section evoking a range of responses to the master, from the early 20th century study by his student Morgan Russell to Faith Ringgold’s late 20th century appropriation titled Matisse’s Model, with a fictional character based on the artist and other modern young women of color.

The exhibition then proceeds with early 20th century explorations of the nude as seen in the work of Matisse’s students Max Weber and Sarah Stein, as well as William Zorach and Maurice Prendergast. The next section of the show addresses Matisse’s theme of the window as a metaphor for the dialogue between the interior world of the artist and the external world of reality.

An archival section featuring Matisse on the cover of Time magazine in 1930, as well as various exhibition catalogues and publications, will serve as an orientation to the history of the dissemination of Matisse’s influence.

The final sections of the exhibition explore Matisse’s pervasive postwar impact on artists, especially in terms of the bold, simplified profiles and vibrant colors of his cut-outs. Works by Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Motherwell, Stuart Davis, Judy Pfaff, Romare Bearden, and the illustrator Eric Carle represent the wide-ranging responses to Matisse’s inventive “drawing with scissors.”

The exhibition concludes with the work of Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselman, Andy Warhol, Janet Taylor Pickett, and John Baldessari, who have appropriated and adapted Matisse’s classic themes of the dance, the studio, the nude, portraiture, and the goldfish bowl as varying approaches to his universal art and fame.

The exhibition is organized by Gail Stavitsky, MAM chief curator, with Dr. John Cauman and Lisa Mintz Messinger. It is complemented by a major scholarly catalogue, Matisse and American Art, and two concurrent exhibitions Inspired by Matisse: Selected Works from the Collection and Janet Taylor Pickett: The Matisse Series.

Morton Livingston Schamberg, Study of a Girl (Fanette Reider), ca. 1912, oil on canvas. Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts, Bequest of Lawrence H. Bloedel, Class of 1923, 77.9.11.

Faith Ringgold (b. 1930)Matisse's Model, 1991 From the Series: The French Collection Part I; #5Acrylic on canvas, printed and tie-dyed fabric, ink73 x 79 # in. (185.42 x 201.93 cm)Baltimore Museum of Art: Frederick R. Weisman Contemporary Art Acquisitions Endowment (BMA 1999.66)© 2016 Faith Ringgold / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York 

William Zorach,  
Spring in Central Park (recto), 1914, oil on canvas, 
Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 
Gift of Peter Zorach, 1979 (1979.223a,b). ©The Zorach Collection, LLC

Henri Matisse (1869-1954)
Nude in a Wood (Nu dans la forêt; Nu assis dans le bois), 1906
Oil on board mounted on panel
16 x 12 " in. (40.6 x 32.4 cm) Brooklyn Museum, Gift of George F. Of, 52.150
©2016 Succession H. Matisse / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Max Weber (1881-1961)
Apollo in Matisse’s Studio, 1908
Oil on canvas 23 x 18 in. (58.42 x 45.72 cm)
Estate of Max Weber, courtesy of Gerald Peters Gallery, New York
© 2017 Estate of Max Weber, courtesy Gerald Peters Gallery, New York

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Portrait of the Artist: Rubens, Rembrandt, Hockney and Freud

Sir Peter Paul Rubens, A Self-Portrait, 1623
Some of the finest portraits of artists, collected by monarchs since Charles I, go on display in a new exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace. Portrait of the Artist explores the changing image of the creative genius from the 15th century to the present day through more than 150 works from the Royal Collection.  It includes paintings and drawings by, and of, some of the world's greatest artists, including Rembrandt van Rijn, Sir Peter Paul Rubens and Leonardo da Vinci.

For centuries images of artists have been a valuable commodity. Charles I was one of the first European monarchs to acquire them, including Artemisia Gentileschi's extraordinary  

Self-Portrait as the Allegory of Painting (La Pittura) (c.1638–9). Produced at the height of his fame, Rubens' self-portrait (1623) was given to Charles I by the artist as an apology for sending the King a work by studio assistants two years earlier. The painting hung alongside

Daniel Mytens' self-portrait (c.1630) in the Breakfast Chamber outside the King's Withdrawing Room at Whitehall, showing the high esteem in which the artists were held.

Rembrandt captured his own image throughout his life, producing approximately 80 self-portraits in total. His

Self-Portrait in a Flat Cap (1642) was one of three of the artist's works that entered the Royal Collection during the reign of George IV.  The monarch was so keen to own Sir Joshua Reynolds' self-portrait of c.1788 that he purchased an inferior copy of the painting in 1812, before being presented with the original version by the artist's niece just 15 days later.

The acquisition of artists' portraits by members of the royal family has continued into the 20th and 21st centuries. The friendship between The Duke of Edinburgh and Edward Seago is recorded in reciprocal portraits, which show the painters at their easels aboard HMY Britannia on His Royal Highness's return from his world tour in 1956–7. The Duke invited Seago to accompany him on the voyage from Australia, where he had opened the 1956 Olympic Games, in the hope that the artist would 'find something to challenge his remarkable talent for landscape painting' in the scenery of the Antarctic Peninsula

Self-portraits by Lucian Freud and David Hockney were presented by the artists to Her Majesty The Queen on their appointment to the Order of Merit, an honour recognising distinguished service in science, art, literature or culture.

Freud's Self-Portrait: Reflection (1996), produced at the age of 74, was one of a series of life-sized portrait etchings made by the artist in the 1990s.

Hockney's Self-Portrait, 6 April 2012 was created on an iPad using the Brushes app, allowing him to play back the drawing 'stroke by stroke' to watch himself at work.

The world's most important group of artists' self-portraits hangs in the Vasari Corridor of the Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence. In the 1760s, the Italian artist Giuseppe Macpherson was commissioned by Lord Cowper, a leading patron of the arts, to create miniature copies of 224 of the works for presentation to George III.  In the note accompanying the gift, Cowper wrote: 'There is nothing of the kind to be found in any Cabinet whatever in Europe, as it is the first time they have been permitted to be copied'. The complete set is on display for the first time in the exhibition.

The relationship between contemporaries in the art world is also explored in the exhibition through representations of artists by their friends, admirers and pupils.

Francesco Melzi's drawing of the aged Leonardo da Vinci (c.1515–18) is the most reliable surviving likeness of his teacher.

Rubens's portrait of his former assistant and lifelong friend Van Dyck (c.1627–8) shows the painter in an unusually reflective manner, unlike the assertive and confident figure presented in Van Dyck's self-portraits.

Dürer’s Self-Portrait at Age Twenty-Eight.

Hockney’s Self-Portrait with Cigarette


Throughout history, many of the world’s most renowned artists have made portraits to represent themselves and others.

The first book to focus on images of artists from within the Royal Collection, Portrait of the Artist brings together paintings, drawings, prints, and photographs by artists from across the centuries, including works by Rembrandt van Rijn, Peter Paul Rubens, David Hockney, and Lucian Freud. While some of the portraits included in this book were created to showcase the artist’s talent, others were motivated by more personal reasons, to preserve the images of cherished friends. Anna Reynolds, Lucy Peter, and Martin Clayton explore the miscellany of themes running throughout the discipline of portraiture, from the rich symbolism found in images of the artist’s studio to the transformation of styles with which artists depictedthemselves, changing their portrayals to align with their changing status. They also explore the relationships between artists and patrons, including the important role of the monarchy in commissioning and collecting portraits of artists.

Published to accompany a major exhibition opening in the fall at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Portrait of the Artist provides a fascinating new perspective on this tradition, with lavish color illustrations of works from the fifteenth century to the present.

Cézanne Portraits

Musée d'Orsay from 13 June 2017 - 24 September 2017
National Portrait Gallery from 26 October 2017 - 11 February 2018
National Gallery of Art from 25 March - 1 July 2018

The National Portrait Gallery is to stage the first exhibition devoted entirely to portraits by Paul Cézanne, it was announced today, Thursday 8 December 2016. This major new exhibition, Cézanne Portraits, will bring together for the first time over 50 of Cézanne's portraits from collections across the world, including works never before on public display in the UK.

Portraits previously unseen in the UK include the artist's arresting  

Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat (1885-6) on loan from the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek gallery in Copenhagen. 

Also on UK display for the first time since the 1930s will be  

Boy in a Red Waistcoat (1888-90),
from the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC,

 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) on loan from The Art Institute of Chicago, 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, Hortense Fiquet. Cézanne Portraits will explore 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 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 practise.

Works included in 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 United Kingdom, and the United States.

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.'

Dr Nicholas Cullinan, Director, National Portrait Gallery, London, says: ‘We are delighted to be staging this once in a lifetime exhibition in collaboration with the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC and the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. 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.'

Cézanne Portraits is curated by John Elderfield, Chief Curator Emeritus of Painting and Sculpture at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, where he has organised numerous exhibitions, including major retrospectives devoted to Willem de Kooning, Henri Matisse, and Kurt Schwitters; with Mary Morton, Curator and Head of Department, French Paintings, National Gallery of Art and Xavier Rey, Director of Collections, Musée d'Orsay.

The exhibition is collaboration between the National Portrait Gallery, London; the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC and the Musée d'Orsay, Paris.


The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated book featuring 170 beautifully reproduced portraits, with an introductory essay on Cézanne's portraiture by exhibition curator John Elderfield and a dramatis personae on the sitters featured by the artist's biographer, the late Alex Danchev. Catalogue texts are by John Elderfield, Mary Morton and Xavier Rey, and a chronology by Jayne Warman sets the artist's work in the context of his life.

Uncle Dominique

Paul Cézanne 

Uncle Dominique

1865 - 1867  
Oil on canvas 
18-1/8 x 15 in. (46.1 x 38.2 cm) 
Norton Simon Art Foundation 
Copyright: © Norton Simon Art Foundation 

Paul Cézanne

The Gardener Vallier