30 January 2023
A lecture on the exhibition at Tate Modern, London (until 12 March 2023)
with Chris Boïcos
‘With an apple, I will astonish Paris’, Cézanne once claimed. Leaving his native Aix-en-Provence for the French capital in his 20s, this is precisely what he did. Cezanne’s still lifes, landscapes and paintings of bathers were to give license to generations of artists to break the rule book. The history of painting was never to be the same again.
Focusing on the many tensions and contradictions in Cezanne’s work, this exhibition seeks to understand the artist in his own context, as an ambitious young painter proudly from the Mediterranean South, yet eager to make it in metropolitan Paris. Featuring many works shown for the first time in the UK, the show follows his struggle between seeking official recognition and joining the emerging Impressionists before relentlessly pursuing his own unique language. We witness an artist wrestling with what it means to be a modern painter while remaining deeply skeptical about the world he lived in, from its political unrest to the continually accelerating pace of modern life.
This major exhibition was organized jointly by Tate Modern and the Art Institute of Chicago.
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