Friday 19 September 2008: Today the Art Gallery of NSW announced it is acquiring a pivotal painting in the history of art. The work now on public display is by Paul Cézanne entitled Bords de la Marne, c1888.
French Impressionist, Paul Cézanne was an artist who transformed the history of art, showing the way to the heroic experiments of the early 20th century.
Picasso said: "Cézanne, he was my one and only master."
Matisse said: "Cézanne; you see is a sort of god of painting."
This is the first painting by Paul Cézanne to enter the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW and as Margaret Olley said, "It will be the most important painting in the gallery."
"There’s everything in it to please the art lover." That was the art dealer Ambroise Vollard’s verdict on Cézanne’s painting, Bords de la Marne, c1888. It was Vollard’s gallery that gave Cézanne his first ever survey exhibition in 1895.
Bords de la Marne is a majestically composed landscape which epitomises Cézanne’s classical qualities. The painting was painted not far from Paris in a region that has attracted many generations of artists. Cézanne must have enjoyed painting along the banks of the Marne River as it appears he returned to the region many times over the years.
"It speaks nothing but Cézanne in terms of composition, texture and brushstrokes," Edmund Capon said of Bords de la Marne. "There are endless moments of intrigue - the reflections in the water, the way the village wall seems to curve around and out of sight, the solidity and concentration of the buildings, those greens..."
As for Cézanne’s influence on Australian artists he stood paramount as a model for painters from Grace Cossington Smith, John Passmore to Fred Williams and beyond.
This painting has an outstanding provenance, coming from what was once the greatest collection of Cézanne’s paintings ever assembled - and has been in the same family’s collection for more than a hundred years.
Steven Lowy, President of the Board of Trustees said:
This is a momentous day for the Art Gallery of NSW. This is a great painting by one of the masters of the 20th century. This wonderful acquisition is being funded by the entire Gallery family - the Foundation, a number of generous individuals, members of the Art Gallery Society and the Gallery's fundraising activities.
Claire Martin (02) 9225 1734 or 0414 437 588