Cézanne rarely hired professional models, but he did so for this work, whose subject is an Italian boy named Michelangelo di Rosa. It is one in a series of four paintings and two watercolors the artist made of di Rosa wearing a red vest. The painting’s first owner, the artist Claude Monet, referred to it as the best picture he owned, and it inspired him to declare that “Cézanne is the greatest of us all.” Nearly half of the Cézanne paintings in MoMA’s collection were originally part of Bliss’s 1934 donation. Boy in a Red Vest is temporarily on view while the other Cézanne paintings given by Bliss travel to the Metropolitan Museum of Art for a special exhibition.
Gallery label from 2022