Cézanne: Pioneer of Modern Art

Apr. 4. (Sat.) -Sept. 27. (Sun.), 2015


Due to the risk of volcanic activity around Owakudani, some works are not on display in the current special exhibition “Cézanne : Pioneer of Modern Art” .
We ask for your kind understanding and cooperation.
Thank you.


Cézanne is revered and his paintings widely admired in Japan. His influence on artists of the 20th century was significant. Picasso commented that Cézanne was “the father of us all.” The path to this position of regard, however, was not an easy one for Cézanne.
Cézanne started out painting in his birthplace, Aix-en-Provence, and was confronted with new directions in art when he moved to Paris. He was active among the Impressionist artists, but surprisingly did not enjoy public recognition as a painter until the 1890s, when he was over 50 years old. His stature gradually grew and by the time he returned to paint in his hometown in the South of France, he was spoken of in the Paris art world as a legend. His gradual acceptance and recognition was supported by interaction with his fellow Impressionist artists and also with the following generation of artists.
This exhibition presents around 20 Cézanne paintings, including important works lent from collections in Japan. In addition, around 30 important works by painters who had close relations with Cézanne are displayed, shedding light on the importance of the personal exchanges. The selection of paintings ranges from Impressionist paintings by Pissarro to cubist paintings by Picasso.

Paul Cézanne_Sugar Bowl, Pears, and Tablecloth

Paul Cézanne, Sugar Bowl, Pears, and Tablecloth, 1893-1894, Pola Museum of Art


Paul Cézanne, Four Women Bathers, 1877-1878, Pola Museum of Art


Paul Cézanne, Landscape in Provence, 1879-1882, Pola Museum of Art


Section 1. Becoming an Artist: Pioneer of the Avant-Garde

Cézanne’s study of art began with classes in free drawings school in his native Aix-en-Provence. Although initially strongly influenced by Romanticism, he was exposed to and absorbed avant-garde trends following his move to Paris in 1861.
Cézanne and his fellow aspiring artists studying at the liberal Académie Suisse rejected the traditional art world system and sought new alternatives. Cézanne failed entrance to the École des Beaux-Arts and was repeatedly rejected by the official Salon.
Courbet and Manet were prominent leaders of the avant-garde movement at the time. Cézanne was greatly influenced by Courbet’s controversial realism and impasto techniques, and Manet’s reliance on color contrasts in place of traditional perspective drawing.

Paul Cezanne_Religious Scene

Paul Cézanne, Religious Scene, 1860-1862, Pola Museum of Art

Paul Cezanne_.Portrait of Antony Valabregue

Paul Cézanne, Portrait of Antony Valabregue, 1874-1875, Pola Museum of Art

Paul Cezanne_.Vacant Land throught a Forest_

Paul Cézanne, Vacant Land through a Forest, 1867, Morohashi Museum of Modern Art Foundation

Section 2. On the Banks of the Oise: Cézanne as Impressionist

In 1872, Cezanne visited Pissarro in Pointoise, on the banks of the Oise River. Pissarro’s understanding of art had impressed Cézanne from the time of their meeting at the Académie Suisse. Cézanne sought Pissarro’s advice and learned the use of Impressionism’s vivid colors from Pissarro, to express their unique sense and careful observations of nature. Cézanne and Pissarro painted together on the banks of the Oise, each being inspired by the other.
Cézanne was repeatedly turned down by the official Salon. His first chance for public exhibition was the 1874 first Impressionist Exhibition, where he submitted three paintings and exhibited along with fellow Impressionists Monet, Renoir, and Sisley. Following his participation in this exhibition of new generation artists, Cézanne carried on painting in the South of France and developed original Impressionist techniques. His submissions to the 1877 third Impressionist Exhibition were met with incomprehension and public criticism.


Paul Cézanne, Cottages at Auvers-sur-Oise, 1872-1873, Pola Museum of Art


Paul Cézanne, The Bridge and Dam at Pontoise, 1881, The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo


Camille Pissarro, View of the Road at Ennery, 1879, Pola Museum of Art

Section 3. Beyond Impressionism: Adventures in Originality

Following the third Impressionist Exhibition, Cézanne took distance from the Paris art world and retreated from the public stage. Cézanne is quoted as saying, “I want to turn Impressionism into something solid and durable, like the art of the museums,” he developed his ‘constructive stroke’ technique in order to overcome the Impressionist predilection for transitory effects.
Cézanne’s technique of building up uni-directional short oblique brushstrokes created an organic basis for color that became indispensible to Cézanne’s painting. Gauguin showed great interest in Cézanne’s technique in which the painting, unlike traditional painting, is constructed through the handling of brushstrokes.
Cézanne lived in Aix for most of the period between 1882–1888, painting in Provence. Portraying the fertile natural world of this region in an original style became his mission.


Paul Cézanne, Still Life with Bottle, ca. 1890, Pola Museum of Art

ゴーガン 白いテーブルクロス

Paul Gauguin, The White Tablecloth, 1886, Pola Museum of Art

《曲がった木》1888-90年 油彩/カンヴァス 46.0x55.0cm ひろしま美術館

Paul Cézanne, The Bent Tree, 1888-1890, Hiroshima Museum of Art

Section 4. Discovering Cézanne: Paris Comes to the South of France

Following the third Impressionist Exhibition in 1877, Cézanne’s paintings were only very rarely exhibited in public. This situation changed dramatically after Cézanne’s first solo exhibition at the Vollard Gallery in Paris in 1895. The fifty or so paintings shown gave his Impressionist friends and the next generation of painters their first chance to experience and grasp the breadth of Cézanne’s art. The Paris art world marveled at the innovative expression of the unknown painter.
Cézanne’s fame rose rapidly after this first exhibition. His second solo exhibition was held at the Vollard Gallery in 1898 and he continued to be represented in exhibitions thereafter. During this time, Cézanne went on producing paintings in the South of France, where young painters, art dealers, art critics, and collectors visited him. The Paris art world came to the South of France regularly to see the reclusive artist.


Paul Cézanne, Self-Portrait with a Hat, ca. 1890-1894, Bridgestone Museum of Art, Ishibashi Foundation

《縞模様の服を着たセザンヌ夫人》 1882-85年 油彩/カンヴァス 56.8x47cm 横浜美術館

Paul Cézanne, Mrs. Cézanne in a Striped Dress, 1883-1885, Yokohama Museum of Art

《ガルダンヌから見たサント=ヴィクトワール山》1892-95年 油彩/カンヴァス 73.0x92.0cm 横浜美術館

Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from Gardanne, 1892-1895, Yokohama Museum of Art


Paul Cézanne, Grand bouquet de fleurs, 1892-1895, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

Section 5. Cézanne: His Legend and Legacy

Cézanne passed away at around 7:00 in the morning on October 23, 1906. On the day before his death, he was at his Lauves studio to work on a portrait of the gardener Vallier under a linden tree.
In 1907, a major retrospective of Cézanne’s paintings was held at the Salon d’Automne. More than fifty paintings were displayed in two rooms, and the next generation of painters enthusiastically hailed Cézanne as ‘the master of Aix.’ On this occation painter Émile Bernard recounts Cézanne’s advice to ‘deal with nature by means of the cylinder, the sphere and the cone, all placed in perspective….’ In 1908, a year after the retrospective, Braque headed to L’Estaque, an area in the South of France associated with Cézanne, to intensify his experimentation with Cubism. In later years, Picasso would refer to Cézanne as the ‘father of us all.’
Matisse’s use of color was also greatly influenced by Cézanne. The magnitude of Cézanne’s impact on the art of the 20th century is reflected in Matisse’s powerful words, “Cézanne, you see, is a sort of God of painting.”


Paul Cézanne, Sugar Bowl, Pears, and Tablecloth, 1893-1894, Pola Museum of Art


Paul Cézanne, Harlequin, 1888-1890, Pola Museum of Art


Pablo Picasso, Nude, 1909, Pola Museum of Art
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