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. This exhibition, organized in conjunction with Cézanne in Provence, included Rewald's annotated dissertation, early publications, site photographs, and object files, along with a small selection of rare books on Cézanne collected by Rewald. Unquestionably, Rewald’s site photographs, scholarly files, more than 10,000 personal books, and 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 collection, and Benedict Leca, Andrew Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow in the department of French painting, were cocurators.