Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London

26 October 2017 – 11 February 2018

Set to be the year’s most blockbusting show, Cézanne Portraits is a once in a lifetime chance to see a quarter of the French painter’s output.

While they had many stylistic differences, Picasso and Matisse agreed on at least one thing: the influence of Cézanne. Both these giants of 20th century art described the painter from Aix-en-Provence as 'the father of us all'.

You can see a debt to the earlier artist in the Cubist still lifes of Picasso and the Fauvist landscapes of Matisse. Cézanne is renowned for the pared down clarity and true-to-life gravity he brought to both genres of painting. 

He is not, however, quite so synonymous with portraiture. And yet he left behind some 200 portraits, 50 of which are borrowed, largely from private hands, for this once-in-a-lifetime touring show. 

Highlights include Self Portrait in a Bowler Hat and Boy in a Red Waistcoat, both from the 1880s (neither have been seen in the UK before). Portraits of Cézanne’s wife and a stylish young man identified as Michelangelo de Rosa have not been seen since the 1930s.

The exhibition is put together by MoMA curator, John Elderfield, and also explores the possible influence of various sitters on Cézanne’s approach to painting.