The EY Exhibition: Cezanne ★★★★★ Tate Modern | Oct 5, 2022 - Mar 12, 2023


Cezanne is often referred to as the artists' artist, and this major exhibition of his work demonstrates why he receives that appellation. The first five rooms of the exhibition trace how Cezanne became the painter he was: his move to Paris in 1861, his friendship with Zola and Pissarro, his creation of a family, and finally his withdrawal to L'Estaque in 1870. It is from this point that Cezanne definitively emerges as the painter who is so currently renowned; his sense of self and his artistic commitment are both confirmed from this point on. Room six looks briefly at the materials the artist employed in his various endeavours and sheds some light on the complexity of his technique as he uses the newly available commercial tools and supplies. The next three galleries look at the major themes of the artist's work: the iconic still life works with the signature props (apples, pears, water bottles etc.); the evocative landscapes with the emblematic Mont Sainte-Victoire and then Cezanne's celebrated bathers which look both to art's past and anticipate its future. It is particularly these latter figures which serve as inspiration to many of the painter's successors. Indeed, Room ten draws on the collections of artists, from Picasso and Matisse to Henry Moore and Jasper Johns. The final gallery covers the period from 1899 to 1906. For the first time, Cezanne has a purpose built studio, and while his work continues to be vibrant and innovative, an awareness of his mortality is clearly present. With this exhibition, the curators have created an outstanding overview of an artist who is a germinal figure in contemporary culture.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Image: Paul Cezanne Still Life with Apples 1893-1894. The J Paul Getty Museum

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