Overview: It seems fitting that John Rewald first discovered Paul Cézanne while crisscrossing Provence in the summer of 1933. Mirroring the painter’s lifelong engagement with his home landscape, Rewald was to make Cézanne’s depictions of the Pays d’Aix and its inhabitants the primary focus of his scholarly life. Rewald was introduced to Cézanne’s art through a chance meeting with Léo Marchutz (1903–1976), a young German artist then living in Aix, and the two set about photographing the various “sites Cézanniens” in the surrounding countryside. This systematic undertaking—a photographic repertory of the sites Cézanne depicted—can be seen as the distant seed of the catalogue raisonné of Cézanne’s paintings that crowned Rewald’s career.
There is no doubt that the same impulse to document comprehensively—to fix for posterity—led Rewald to choose the National Gallery of Art as the repository for his photographs, documentation, and personal library. Rewald thus enshrined his legacy at the same time he ensured that his scholarly materials would forever remain the basis for the continuing study of "his" beloved artist. The current exhibition in the Gallery’s Library, organized in conjunction with the exhibition Cézanne in Provence (January 29–May 7, 2006), includes items that document Rewald’s passionate interest in Cézanne. Rewald’s annotated dissertation, early publications, site photographs, and object files are on display, along with a small selection of rare books on Cézanne collected by Rewald. Unquestionably, the department of image collections’ holdings of site photographs, the Gallery Archives’ complement of Rewald’s scholarly files, the more than 10,000 personal books held in the National Gallery of Art Library, and the exceptional collection of Cézanne’s paintings and graphic works make the National Gallery of Art one of the premiere destinations for the study of Cézanne.
Organization: The exhibition was organized by the National Gallery of Art. Gregory Most, Chief of Library Image Collections, and Benedict Leca, Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow, were cocurators.