Art Institue of Chicago
111 S Michigan Ave
Chicago, US 60603
Until the 5th of September 2022
The Art Institute of Chicago is presenting an exceptional exhibition devoted to Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) through September 5, 2022. As the first monographic retrospective of the French artist in the United States in more than 25 years, the American museum, in partnership with the Tate Modern in London, is exhibiting more than 80 oil paintings, 40 watercolors and drawings, and two sketchbooks by the French artist, shedding new light on the career of this genius painter and illustrator.
The exhibition explores the stylistic evolution and artistic multiplicity of Cézanne’s works through a display that brings together several of his emblematic series—such as that of the Montagne Sainte-Victoire—as well as works with lesser-known subjects, such as his early allegorical paintings. The diversity of loans from museums and private collections around the world makes this one of the richest exhibitions ever devoted to the life and work of Paul Cézanne.
Following the thread of Paul Cézanne’s life and career, the exhibition explores the many and varied influences that led the artist to break away from the realism that dominated 19th-century art, and, on the other hand, Cézanne’s influences on modern and contemporary art. Anchored in his time, nourished by the eclecticism of this period, Cézanne was nevertheless resolutely modern. Rejected by the Salon at the beginning of his career, Cézanne became over the years the initiator of a true artistic revolution in representation, whose strength and vitality are restored in the exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago.
“The only ones who are not subject to the charm of Cezanne are precisely those artists or collectors who have shown by their errors that their sensibilities are defective.” Camille Pissaro
The exhibition highlights the artist’s break with figurative representation, his progressive distancing from mimesis (faithful representation of reality) and the obvious link between his works and the avant-garde artistic movements of the early 20th century. It sheds new light on the links between Cézanne, sometimes described as the “pivotal artist”, and the Fauvist, Cubist and Expressionist artists, some of whom pushed the Cézanne experience to its limits by withdrawing from the figurative and the real. Artists such as Paula Modersohn-Becker, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet and Henri Matisse have all described Paul Cézanne as “the greatest of us all” and several of their works presented alongside Cézanne’s paintings bear witness to this fertile influence.
In keeping with this tradition, ten contemporary artists, including Kerry James Marshall, Julia Fish, and Ellen Gallagher, have been invited to lend their voices to the exhibition. Their perspectives, also included in the audio guide and gallery texts, help situate Cézanne’s work both in his time and in today’s world. They also attest to the appeal and resonance that his paintings and his singular approach still exert on artists of our time.
Cezanne is organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Modern, London.
Learn more about the exhibition here.