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Baltimore Museum of Art Presents First Exhibition to Explore Cézanne's Influence on American Art
Marsden Hartley, "Mont Saint Victoire", 1927. Private Collection of Elaine and Henry Kaufman.
BALTIMORE, MD.- Discover how Cézanne transformed American art at the beginning of the 20th century. Cézanne and American Modernism, on view February 16 - May 23, 2010, brings together 16 of the French master's paintings and watercolors with more than 80 works by 33 American artists, including Marsden Hartley, Maurice Prendergast, Alfred Stieglitz, and Man Ray. Along with the Baltimore Museum of Art’s two great Cézanne paintings, Mont Sainte-Victoire Seen from the Bibémus Quarry and Bathers, the exhibition showcases outstanding works from public and private collections throughout the U.S., including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art Institute of Chicago, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. This nationally traveling exhibition is co-organized by the Montclair Art Museum and The Baltimore Museum of Art. It is a special ticketed event that includes complimentary audio tours for both adults and kids.

Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) is universally acclaimed as the father of modern art for his revolutionary use of flattened perspective, carefully structured compositions, and his signature technique of painting with patches of color. This exhibition is the first to reveal how a small group of pioneering American artists championed the reclusive French artist before he gained international prominence. Although these painters and photographers never met Cézanne in person, his long and prolific career provided many avenues of influence for them to explore.

The transformative impact of Cézanne’s painting is vividly illustrated by the American artists’ adaptations of his stylistic hallmarks and subjects. Marsden Hartley was introduced to Cezanne’s work in 1911, moved to the south of France in 1925 to be closer to the native countryside of his mentor, and produced his own rugged and colorful modern landscapes. Cézanne’s powerful images of bathers in the landscape moved Man Ray to pay homage in his Cubist-inspired compositions of the same topic. The French artist’s strong and powerful portraits motivated Stanton Macdonald-Wright to produce an image of his brother in a colorful and confident style. John Marin’s free-flowing watercolors are notable for their suggestive power, freshness, and immediacy. Artists such as Patrick Henry Bruce, Andrew Dasburg, and Charles Demuth were inspired by Cézanne’s still-life compositions and variously reflect his affinity for vibrant colors, tilted table tops, multiple views, and complex structures.

Cézanne’s influence on early 20th-century American photography is examined for the first time with examples by Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Steichen, Paul Strand, and others who played a pivotal role in introducing modernism to America. Their experimentation included closely cropped portraits, abstract still lifes, and nudes and bathers in landscape settings.

Another surprising aspect of the exhibition is Cézanne’s remarkable impact on art in the western United States. Artists Willard Nash, Józef Bakoś, B.J.O Nordfeldt, and others spent varying lengths of time in the region and merged Cézanne’s influence with inspiration from the western landscape and culture. Cézanne also inspired a new generation of younger artists who discovered him for the first time during the 1920s. This includes Arshile Gorky, who created strikingly faithful imitations of Cézanne’s work while living in New York. African-American artists William H. Johnson and Hale Woodruff both visited France at this time and embraced aspects of Cézanne’s palette and structural style early in their careers.

Baltimore Museum of Art | Cézanne and American Modernism | Montclair Art Museum |


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