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Cézanne Portraits
March 25 – July 8, 2018
West Building, Main Floor

Paul Cézanne, Boy in a Red Waistcoat, 1888-1890, oil on canvas, National Gallery of Art, Washington, Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon, in Honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Gallery of Art

This exhibition is no longer on view at the National Gallery.

Cézanne Portraits is the first exhibition devoted to the famed post-impressionist’s portraits from across his career. The exhibition explores the unconventional aspects of his portraiture, the role his portraits play in the development of his radical style and method, and the range and influence of his sitters. Rather than accepting commissions for portraits, Cézanne painted them as part of his ongoing experimentation as he searched for a pictorial language to capture his intense perceptions of the world. He rarely painted people he did not know; instead he portrayed himself, his family, his friends, art-world admirers, and working-class inhabitants of his native Aix-en-Provence with whom he felt an affinity.

The exhibition brings together some 60 paintings drawn from collections around the world. They encompass his entire career and include portraits made in Paris, where he went to launch himself as an artist, and in Aix, which remained his anchor throughout his life and where he eventually settled permanently. Several paintings are exclusive to the National Gallery of Art’s presentation, while some works have never before been exhibited in the United States. The exhibition is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog with essays by John Elderfield, chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings at the National Gallery of Art; and Xavier Rey, director of the Musées de Marseille. Also included are a biographical essay on Cézanne’s sitters by Alex Danchev and a chronology of the artist’s life by Jayne S. Warman.

The exhibition is curated by John Elderfield, chief curator emeritus of painting and sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, with Mary Morton, curator and head of the department of French paintings at the National Gallery of Art, and Xavier Rey, director of the Musées de Marseille.

Organization: Organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

Sponsors: The exhibition is made possible through the generous support of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Foundation.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Passes: Admission is always free and passes are not required.

Other venues: Musée d’Orsay, Paris, June 13–September 24, 2017
National Portrait Gallery, London, October 26, 2017–February 11, 2018

Audio Tour

To access the tour on your mobile device, go to nga.gov/tours

Narrated by Earl A. Powell III, director, with commentary from exhibition curators John Elderfield, Museum of Modern Art, and Mary Morton, National Gallery of Art.

For visitors in need of headphones or devices, a limited number are available at the audio tour desk in the West Building Rotunda. The use of headphones is required within the exhibition space.

Related Resources

More on the Artist

Cézanne, Paul
French
, 1839 - 1906

Related Events

LectureIntroduction to the Exhibition — Cézanne Portraits
March 25 at 2:00
East Building Auditorium

ConcertBenedetto Lupo, piano
March 25 at 3:30
West Building, West Garden Court

Film ProgramsCézanne—Portraits of a Life
March 25 at 4:30
East Building Auditorium

Lectures and Book SigningsCézanne's Portraits: Doubt, Certainty, and Painting in Series
June 3 at 2:00
East Building Auditorium

Audio and Video

Cézanne's Portraits: Doubt, Certainty, and Painting in Series
Video, Released: June 19, 2018, (52:03 minutes)
Cézanne's Portraits: Doubt, Certainty, and Painting in Series
Audio, Released: June 19, 2018, (52:20 minutes)
Introduction to the Exhibition—Cézanne Portraits
Video, Released: April 10, 2018, (50:08 minutes)
Introduction to the Exhibition—Cézanne Portraits
Audio, Released: March 27, 2018, (50:08 minutes)
Press Event: Cézanne Portraits
Audio, Released: March 20, 2018, (21:23 minutes)