"Once in a Generation" at Tate Modern

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"Once in a Generation" at Tate Modern

Author : Nafiseh Saleh Abadi

Reading Time : 3 Minutes

Eighty artworks by French artist Paul Cézanne (1830-1906) will be displayed in an exhibition called "Once in a Generation" at Tate Modern from October 6 to March 12, 2023.

These artworks include paintings, drawings, and watercolor paintings which Frances Morris, director of Tate  Modern, has mentioned their important roles in the formation of modern art. Twenty-two of these artworks are being displayed for the first time in Britain. Natalia Sidlina, the international curator of Taten Modern, announced that one of the first self-portraits of the artist titled "Sophisticated Man About to Conquer the Capital" will be displayed at the show's opening. She also mentioned the events, situations, and connections which led to the emergence of Cézanne as one of the prominent artists in the late 19th century. Sidlina says:

"Cézanne witnessed swift political and social changes in France [as] it alternated between the republic to empire and back to the republic, the shock of the social unrest of the Paris Commune, and later in life the city-dividing Dreyfus affair." [Source: Paul Cézanne paintings never seen in UK to go on show at Tate Modern | Paul Cezanne | The Guardian]

Still Life with Fruit Dish, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art in New York, confirmed Cézanne’s reputation. Photograph: www.scalarchives.com

For a while, Cézanne, who is known as one of the most important Impressionist painters, isolated himself from the art world in Paris, and decided to live in Provence, a city located south east of Asia to follow his own art style. Each hall of the Tate Modern will be assigned to show certain works; from lime kilns of Provence to "Bathers", created between 1894 and 1905, will be exhibited next to the portraits of his wife and son. Cézanne was not only a famous painter among his contemporaneous Impressionists, but he was also a pioneering post-Impressionist artist, whose works and art style influenced many painters in the 19th and 20th centuries. Due to his artworks'  creative style and composition and because of the remarkable influence he had on other artists, many historians regard him as the "Father of Modern Art".

Years ago, Samuel Courtauld, one of the trustees on the board of Tate, allocated a budget for purchasing artworks to be included in the national collection. Cézanne's paintings were among the purchased works. Therefore, Tate became the first public museum in England to possess artworks by Cézanne, which constitute the major part of the museum's visual resources.