Cezanne and the Modern – Ashmolean Museum

“Masterpieces of European Art from the Perlman Collection”

Before today I have to admit that I had consciously seen few Cezanne paintings; I’m sure I’ve seen them in major galleries but never actually looked at them or thought about them. This exhibition has definitely made me want to see more of his work and to find out more about him. The exhibition contains works from the collection of Henry and Rose Perlman, and is the first time it’s been shown in Europe. While the backbone of the show are the Cezanne paintings, there are also works by many of the greats of late 19th and early 20th century art like Degas, Modigliani, Lautrec and others.

Apart from a Degas, which is going to get a post all to itself once I’ve sorted out in my head how I feel about it, for me the stars of the show are the Cezanne watercolours which are breathtaking in their subtly and vibrancy (and that, dear reader, is a hell of a combination to pull off). They look very, very modern to the point where one might imagine somebody today doing something very similar in Photoshop and producing a similar effect. Tree trunks in sharply defined graphite mixed with strange ethereal foliage in many colours and shades are amazing – they are absolutely a representational image…but they’re also just so abstract at the same time.

I loved this one – “Paths, Trees and Walls” from 1900

It’s a great show and well worth catching if you can

There’s a really good review with lots more information on the Perlman collection on the FT Website, and the website of the Perlman Collection itself


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