Paul Cézanne: Masterpieces

Experience great works of art in an intimate setting: For the first time a number of masterpieces by Cézanne will be shown in Norway.

An exhibition of masterpieces by Paul Cézanne is a big event in Norway. We are happy to present a unique collaboration between KODE and The Courtauld Gallery in London.

The exhibition "Paul Cézanne: Masterpieces from The Courtauld" will be at display at KODE 1 from 16 July - 10 October.

Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) is one of the most important figures in art history: He is the artist who built a bridge between Impressionism in the late 19th century and Cubism in the early 20th century. Through countless nature studies and experiments on canvas, Cézanne succeeded in moving the boundaries for what a painting can depict, thereby changing art for ever. 

What is presented in the exhibition 

This intimate exhibition presents 12 oil paintings, 10 drawings and 2 prints by Cézanne, of which 10 are masterpieces on loan from The Courtauld Gallery.

The exhibition also presents archive material relating to the beginnings of modernist art history, starting with Roger Fry’s seminal texts on the Courtauld Cezannes. Fry coined the term Post-Impressionism to describe this group of artists. The essays he published in the 1920s have formed the basis for our understanding of what modern art is, and, in particular, of Cézanne’s role in the development of painting after 1900.

The absolute highlights in this section of the exhibition are three letters Cezanne wrote to Émile Bernard near the end of his life, detailing his views on art. This is the primary source for our knowlege of how he developed his theory. The archive material is also a loan from The Courtauld. 

The background: Cézanne and the collectors 

The Courtauld Gallery in London is home to the world’s most important collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist art. The Courtauld was the result of a generous gift from the collector Samuel Courtauld in 1932. Cézanne’s paintings are among the absolute highlights of the museum and they were also among the collector’s personal favourites.  

In a similar way, Rasmus Meyer’s large collection of art was donated to the city of Bergen in 1916. It included a unique group of works by Edvard Munch. The point of departure for this collaboration with The Courtauld is a shared recognition of the importance of visionary collectors to today’s museums.

Works by Paul Cézanne quickly found their way into Norwegian art collections, both public and private. The first known purchase was the Norwegian National Gallery’s purchase of Nature Morte already in 1910. 

In the early 20th century, several private Norwegian collectors acquired works by French Impressionists and Post-Impressionists. Some of them had extensive collections of important works by artists such as Cézanne, Gauguin and Renoir. Several of them sold off works of art during the downturn in the shipping industry after World War I.

Samuel Courtauld bought two Cézanne paintings from the collection of shipowner Jørgen Breder Stang and one that had been owned by the industrialist Gustav Adolf Jebsen. 

Both will be on display in this exhibition and can be seen for the first time in Norway since Courtauld’s purchases. 

Pioneering collector and philanthropist Samuel Courtauld played a unique role in shaping the taste for Impressionism in the United Kingdom. Like Rasmus Meyer in Norway, he was driven by a fervent belief in the power of art to enrich lives. He collected with a clear sense of public purpose, and at a time when the Impressionists and Post-Impressionists were still controversial in the United Kingdom.    

Largely made in a few short years, from 1923 to 1929, his acquisitions were all of the highest quality. In 1932, less than a decade after he began collecting, Samuel Courtauld donated the bulk of his collection for the benefit of the newly founded Courtauld Institute of Art, created to promote art education in the United Kingdom and to teach art history at university level in that country for the very first time.  

About the exhibition

The exhibition will be at display in KODE 1 from July 16 - October 10.

The exhibition is curated by Barnaby Wright, Karen Serres and Line Daatland and is followed by a richly illustrated catalogue.

  • 16 Jul 2021 to 10 Oct 2021
  • Kode 1
  • 150/100/0 *

* Adgang alle Kode museer i 2 dager. Voksne 150,- / Studenter 100,- / Barn under 16 år og KODE medlem 0,-