Lesley Schwarzman and Laura Barton attended the press opening of Cézanne and Beyond, a major exhibit showing at the Philadelphia Museum of Art until May 17, 2009. Here is Lesley’s report.
Philadelphia, March 12, 2009 – “There is more Cézanne within a 4 mile radius of the Philadelphia Museum of Art than in all of Paris,” says exhibit organizer Joseph J. Rishel, referring to the Cézanne and Beyond exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Cezanne collection at the Barnes Foundation in nearby Merion, PA.
The French artist Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) is widely considered to be the father of modern art. His life and work have inspired artists for a century. The current exhibit shows some fifty paintings, watercolors and drawings by Cézanne and includes one hundred paintings, drawings, photographs, and sculptures by eighteen other artists from Cezanne’s time up to the present.
Over the past hundred years, particularly beginning with the posthumous retrospective of Cézanne’s work in 1907, artists have looked to him for inspiration—and he has provided it in various ways. Some found inspiration in his single-minded artistic vision, others in his close observation of nature, and still others in his simplification of shapes and colors.
As neither a trained artist nor an art historian, it was especially rewarding for me to be accompanied at the exhibit but an artist who has herself been inspired by Cézanne: Laura Barton, who lives just outside of Philadelphia in West Chester, PA. (The fact that Laura and I went to high school together, that it was Laura’s birthday, and that we were going out to lunch afterwards all added to the pleasure.) Laura echoed the chorus of artists displayed in the exhibit in saying that “Cézanne’s simplification of shapes and color inspired me to get the true essence of an object or scene with as little fussing around as possible.”
One of my favorite works in the show is Cézanne’s painting of his wife, whom he is said to have adored, sitting dignified yet relaxed in a red armchair.
Go to the show, running through May 17, to see how Matisse and Picasso interpreted that painting on their respective canvas, featuring their respective loved one. Click here for more information about the exhibit.
Here is one of my favorite recent works by Laura Barton that also reveals her inspiration from Cézanne. Click here for more information about Laura’s work.