In a MoMA members exclusive, the curators and conservator of Cézanne Drawing share some inspiration and research behind the exhibition.
Jodi Hauptman, Samantha Friedman, Laura Neufeld
Jun 21, 2021
Looking—closely, widely, openly—is a central activity of organizing an exhibition. While less obvious, reading—closely, widely, openly—also plays a crucial role in the years of research and thinking that underpin an endeavor like Cézanne Drawing. What did Paul Cézanne write to his family members and associates about his art? And how have the artist’s process and work been framed and understood in the decades following? The Cézanne bibliography is copious and spans more than a century. Here, the curatorial and conservation team behind the exhibition have assembled a brief annotated reading list for MoMA members, ranging from primary sources such as Cézanne’s letters to fellow artists, family, and art suppliers; through the mid-century French philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s exploration of the beautiful uncertainty of Cézanne; to several contemporary scholars’ reflections on the artist’s deep engagement with material.
Get a behind-the-scenes take on some of the letters and essays that helped inform how Cézanne Drawing came together. Members at the Explore category and above can bring their questions and thoughts to a special Member Roundtable on Tuesday, June 22, during which the exhibition team will discuss these texts, with a particular focus on Cézanne’s letters (a special selection of which are linked to below). This handful of selections doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the vast and varied writings that have been devoted to the artist over the last century-plus. A more comprehensive bibliography can be found in the footnotes of the new essays written for our exhibition catalogue.