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By Alan Behr

PHILADELPHIA, 2 MARCH 2009 — Cézanne, who hit his stride only after he hit middle age, is a patron saint of late bloomers and an artist of intergenerational influence. The exhibition now at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, displays works of Cézanne by subject matter (portraits of women, landscapes, still lifes), along with works by artists he influenced, from Alberto Giacometti to Ellsworth Kelly, Marsden Hartley and Jeff Wall. A wall label quotes the art historian David Sylvester as naming Piet Mondrian "Cézanne's truest heir."

Paul Cézanne, (French, 1839 - 1906), The Large Bathers, 1906
Oil on canvas, 82 7/8 x 98 ¾ inches
Philadelphia Museum of Art
Purchased with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, 1937
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

The works on display in Philadelphia point to a different in many ways more logical dauphin: Henri Matisse . In a room filled with still lifes, The Table (1920) by Georges Braque is displayed along with a quotation from the artist that says much about Cézanne's influence: "I wanted nothing more than to paint like Cézanne. Fortunately, my wish was never granted for, if it had been, I would never have painted like Braque." It is no dishonor to Braque that the exhibition also reminds us that, whatever the inspiration, no artist has brought such intrigue and evocation to the simple still life as had Cézanne.

Marsden Hartley, (American, 1877 - 1943)
Canuck Yankee Lumberjack at Old Orchard Beach, Maine, 1940-1
Oil on fiberboard, 40 1/8 x 30 inches.
Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

The exhibition is accompanied by a scholarly publication that is dedicated to Anne d'Harnoncourt and is co-published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Yale University Press.

Philadelphia is the only venue for Cézanne and Beyond.

Title photo: Paul Cézanne: The Smoker, 1890 - 92
Oil on canvas, 36 ½ x 29 inches
The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg
Photo courtesy of Philadelphia Museum of Art

Cézanne and Beyond
26 February 2009 - 17 May 2009
Philadelphia Museum of Art
26th Street and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
(Paid tickets required.)

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