The international traveling exhibition “Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection,” will be on view at the Princeton University Art Museum from September 19, 2015 to January 3, 2016. The exhibition features one of the finest collections of works to be held by one family, and offers its audience a rare opportunity to discover lesser-known masterworks from beloved artists such as Vincent Van Gogh, Edgar Degas, Édouard Manet, and Amedeo Modigliani. This is the first time the Henry and Rose Pearlman Collection has toured in its entirety since 1974.
For more than three decades Henry Pearlman put together one of the finest collections of European art remaining in private hands. Pearlman began seriously collecting avant-garde art in the 1940s with the acquisition of a work by Chaïm Soutine, and later Amedeo Modigliani. Eventually he began to collect works by some of the artists who had influenced them, including Manet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, Gauguin, and Cézanne. In so doing, a unique collection was born.
Cézanne and the Modern pivots around the works of Cézanne; half of the works on view in the exhibition are his. The exhibition also features paintings and sculptures by other artists who were influential members of the avant-garde of their time, and offers insight into the development of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism as well as into the history of collecting avant-garde art in the US. It is co-curated by Betsy Rosasco, Research Curator of European Painting and Sculpture at the Prince University of Art Museum, and Laura Giles, the first Heather and Paul G. Haaga Jr., Class of 1970, Curator of Prints and Drawings. Among the highlights of the exhibition are Cézanne’s “Mont Sainte-Victoire,” Van Gogh’s “Tarascon Stagecoach,” and Amedeo Modigliani’s “Portrait of Jean Cocteau.” A fully illustrated catalogue appears alongside the exhibition which features contributions by more than a dozen members of the extended Princeton University community.
In a letter to his brother Theo in October 1888, Van Gogh explained the birth of his painting “Tarascon Stagecoach”, saying it was partly inspired by Alphonse Daudet’s novel “Tartatin of Tarascon,” which features a stagecoach. Van Gogh also elaborated on the artistic influence that Claude Monet and Adolphe Monticelli had on the painting: “The carriages are painted in the style of Monticelli, with impastos. You once had a very beautiful Monet, of four colorful boats on a beach. Well, here it’s carriages, but the composition is of the same kind.”