Paul Cézanne’s works on paper at MoMA from June 6, 2021


Paul Cézanne’s works on paper at MoMA from June 6, 2021

‘Cézanne Drawing’, on view at the Museum of Modern ArtMoMA, from June 6 through September 25, 2021, will be the first major effort in the United States to unite drawings from across the artist’s entire career, tracing the development of his practice on paper and exploring his working methods. More than 200 works on paper—including drawings, sketchbooks, and rarely seen watercolors—will be shown alongside a selection of related oil paintings, drawn from MoMA’s collection as well as public and private collections from around the world.

cover: Paul Cézanne. Still Life with Cut Watermelon (Nature morte avec pastèque entamée). c. 1900. Pencil and watercolor on paper, 12 3/8 × 19 1/8″ (31.5 × 48.5 cm). Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel. Beyeler Collection. Photo: Peter Schibli.

Presented together, these works will reveal how this fundamental figure of modern art – more often recognized as a painter – produced his most radical works on paper.
Cézanne Drawing’ will return works on paper to their central position within the artist’s oeuvre, demonstrating the extent to which this medium facilitated his legendary innovations and emphasizing how he used particular materials and techniques to generate meaning.
Drawing was foundational to Cézanne’s practice from the late 1850s until his death in 1906.
Making daily use of loose sheets and sketchbook pages, the artist produced over 2,100 works on paper over the course of his career. Cézanne preferred standard materials that were easily prepared, widely available, and relatively inexpensive: industrially produced pencils, watercolors, and papers, purchased from art suppliers in Aix-en-Provence and Paris. But with few exceptions, he did not undertake drawings as preparatory studies for oil paintings; instead, drawing was an activity of interest and importance in its own right—one that facilitated daring investigations of surface and depth, line and color, vision and touch, and finish and un-finish.
Elaborated over the course of days, weeks, and even years, Cézanne’s works on paper were paramount to his development of a resolutely modern artistic idiom.

Self Portrait and Apple (chalk on paper)

Paul Cézanne. Self-Portrait and Apple (Autoportrait et pomme). 1880–84. Pencil on paper,
6 13/16 × 9 1/16″ (17.3 × 23 cm). Cincinnati Art Museum. Gift of Miss Emily Poole. Bridgeman Images

In addition to study sheets, sketchbooks, and other drawings in pencil, the exhibition will feature a wide selection of large-scale watercolors—a once-in-a-generation opportunity to see so many of these rarely exhibited works gathered in one place. Moving deftly between pencil and watercolor while at work on individual compositions, Cézanne cultivated a dynamic relationship between the two mediums. His graphite lines and watercolor washes variously converge and diverge, and he explored the translucence and luminosity of watercolor across these works.
Through new curatorial and conservation research, ‘Cézanne Drawing’ will illuminate the technical means that enabled the artist’s extraordinary vision: the searching, multiple lines that together describe a form; the repetitions and transformations that realize a composition; and the layering of watercolor that conjures kaleidoscopic color. It will also explore the ways in which this pioneer of modernism remains relevant today; whether through his preoccupation with the temporality of everyday life, his wonder at the natural world, his investigations of the bounds of color, or his daring approach to the human figure, viewers will encounter an artist who grappled with a world of rapid change and deep uncertainty.


Paul Cézanne. Studies and Portraits of the Artist’s Son (Études et portraits du fils de l’artiste). 1877–78. Pencil on paper, 9 3/4 × 12 1/8″ (24.8 × 30.8 cm). The Albertina, Vienna

Cézanne Drawing is organized by Jodi Hauptman, Senior Curator, and Samantha Friedman, Associate Curator, with Kiko Aebi, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Drawings and Prints. Laura Neufeld, Associate Conservator, David Booth Department of Conservation, is a key collaborator, part of the project’s curatorial-conservation partnership.


Paul Cézanne. Mont Sainte-Victoire (La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves). 1902–06. Watercolor and pencil on wove paper, 16 3/4 x 21 3/8″ (42.5 x 54.2 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. David Rockefeller. Photo © 2021 MoMA, NY


Paul Cézanne. Foliage (Étude de feuillage). 1900–04. Watercolor and pencil on wove paper, 17 5/8 × 22 3/8″ (44.8 × 56.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Lillie P. Bliss Collection. Photo © 2021 MoMA, NY

Cézanne Drawing
MoMA – 11 West 53 Street – NY10019
June 6 / September 25, 2021

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copyright Inexhibit 2022 - ISSN: 2283-5474