One can’t appreciate 20th-century art without understanding the significance and genius of Paul Cézanne. Cézanne is a hugely important figure in art history, influencing the art of Cubists, Fauvists and successive generations of avant-garde artists. Hailed as “the father of us all” by Matisse and Picasso, Cézanne also painted over 200 portraits that are finally being given their day.
This new film follows a blockbuster exhibition curated jointly by London’s National Portrait Gallery, Paris’s Musée d’Orsay and National Gallery of Art Washington. The first to be devoted entirely to Cézanne’s portraits, the show opened in Paris last summer before traveling to London and then Washington this spring.
Nicholas Cullinan, director of the National Portrait Gallery, said the gallery was delighted to be staging the show. “Up until now, Cézanne’s portraiture has received surprisingly little attention,” he said, “so we are thrilled to be able to bring together so many of his portraits for the first time to reveal arguably the most personal, and therefore most human, aspect of Cézanne’s art.”
Featuring interviews with the participating curators and letters from the artist himself, the film also travels to Aix-en-Provence where Cézanne lived and worked, shedding new light on an artist who is perhaps the least known of all the Impressionists—until now.