Courtauld Gallery

London's Courtauld Gallery might be one of the smaller London galleries, but as well as having a unique collection which includes some of the most important paintings of the 19th and 20th centuries, but it often hosts small exhibitions of a very high standard. At present they have an exhibition on which I would consider a very important exhibition which should be visited by every artist or enthusiast .

 

This exhibition is about Cezanne's iconic paintings of the card players. The Courtauld all ready owns two of these paintings and has borrowed others from galleries all over the world. The exhibition gives one a unique opportunity to not only compare the versions on display, but also to see some of the oil and watercolour sketches and drawings which Cezanne did in preparation for painting these seminal works.

 

The exhibition also includes  a selection of the related paintings of local peasants, most of whom are also featured in the card player paintings. One wall is dedicated to three paintings of the same man, and it is fascinating to see the way he developed the subject. In the first one he incorporates part of a still life which he had painted. The last one has passages in it which to my eye show the way he was moving to a more abstract way of painting. It also shows to me how Picasso was influenced by this painting and others in his way to the introduction of cubism.

 

In all I found this an extremely educational exhibition. The exhibition is complimented by a small show of much earlier drawings of peasants by Dutch artists which I feel show the way that Cezanne though a great innovator, was still influenced by work done before his time.

 

If you are in London, do not miss this exhibition, which runs until 16th January.
Bernie Victor
 

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