Reconstructing Cézanne: Sequence and Process in Paul Cézanne’s Works on Paper, running until 7 December 2019, is one of the most impressive exhibitions staged in London at the moment.
Probably because it includes loans from significant public collections, including the Courtauld Institute of Art, London, the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, the Fondation Beyeler, Basel and Musée Granet, Aix-en-Provence, alongside some stunning private collections of the artist’s work.
The exhibition, presented by Luxembourg & Dayan, features eleven remarkable works on paper by Cézanne. Using a scientific approach, scholar and curator Fabienne Ruppen from the University of Zurich, researched the French artist’s working process, methods, subjects (including Sainte Baume and Sainte Victoire mountains) through to the developments of his characteristic style.
Reconstructing Cézanne uncovers the intrinsic nature of Cézanne’s art through a close examination of the papers he used for his watercolours and drawings. Cézanne produced approximately 2,100 works on paper and Ruppen has studied 1,400 of these works. Her research revealed previously unnoticed material’s connections that draw unknown parallels between the works.
Taking centre stage in the exhibition are two watercolours that Cézanne painted from a large sheet of paper, which he divided in two sections for the purpose of capturing different landscapes. They are the Courtauld Gallery’s long-time celebrated La Montagne Sainte-Victoire, from 1885–87, and a Paysage provençal, c.1885.
Speaking about this reunion, Ketty Gottardo, Martin Halusa Curator of Drawings at the Courtauld said: “I could not believe the chance to have found the perfect match to the Courtauld Gallery’s watercolour of La Montagne Sainte Victoire! I am thrilled that this exhibition brings them together for the first time”.
La Montagne Sainte-Victoire, 1885-87, Graphite and watercolour on laid paper, 12 7/8 x 19 7/8 in. (32.7 x 50.5 cm.), © The Courtauld Gallery, London (Samuel Courtauld Trust).
Le Jardin des Lauves: vue sur Aix et la Cathédrale de Saint-Sauveur, 1902–06; Graphite and watercolor on wove paper; 15 3/4 x 22 in. (40 x 54 cm); (CEZA_052); Courtesy of a private collection.
Rochers près des grottes au-dessus de Château Noir, 1895-1900; Watercolour on laid paper; 19 1/4 x 11 3/8 in. (48.9 x 29 cm.; (CEZA_014); Courtesy of a private collection.