Looking specifically at the originality and contradictions lying within the French artist’s practice, this career-spanning retrospective offers a fresh take on the life, work and outlook of Cézanne.
A central figure within the history of European art, Cézanne has been the subject of a wide range of group exhibitions and solo shows in the 115 years since his death. Tate Modern’s iteration uses a career-spanning survey to examine the artist in reference to his own history, and to the tensions that underpinned his creative output.
Ambitious from the start, Cézanne set out from his native Aix-en-Provence for Paris in his 20s, confident he would wow the capital with even minor examples of his skill. This move was a source of tension, however, with contradictions between Cézanne’s loyalties and vision underpinning his career: pride in his roots ran contrary to his determination to make it in Paris, the desire for recognition in conflict his pursuit of his own artistic language. Here, the Tate Modern explores Cézanne’s wider skepticism about the world he lived in, including politics and the pace of modern life, as well as showcasing many works not shown in the UK before.
The innovative still lifes, landscapes and portraits Cézanne produced went on to give creative licence to generations of artists – but the act of making them was fraught with dilemmas, as this exhibition reveals.