Only 13 days remain to experience Cézanne and Beyond, the major Philadelphia-only international loan exhibition that demonstrates—through masterpiece after masterpiece—how the French painter Paul Cézanne changed the course of modern art in the 20th century. Garnering rave reviews around the United States and abroad, the exhibition was nearly five years in the making and has brought to Philadelphia more than 150 works gathered from public and private collections across 10 countries. Some of the works have not been seen in the United States for more than 50 years. Cézanne and Beyond remains on view only through Sunday, May 31, and is now open seven-days-a-week—including Memorial Day. It is made possible by Advanta.
More than 220,000 tickets have been issued for the exhibition, making Cézanne and Beyond among a handful of the most highly-attended exhibitions in the Museum’s history. It could be expected to draw up to 35,000 more in its final days. Ticket availability is higher during weekdays, especially in the early afternoon, but some weekend availability remains because the Museum has expanded hours. Call 215-235-SHOW for information or visit the website at philamuseum.org.
Cézanne and Beyond opened to rave reviews and has drawn visitors from every state in the nation, except Hawaii, as well as from the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Visitors have also come from 21 foreign countries, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, China, France, Hungary, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea.
The Philadelphia Inquirer declared Cézanne and Beyond a “magnificently stimulating experience.” The Boston Globe wrote, “There won’t be a show anywhere in the world this year to compete – in ambition, scope, and sheer concentration of masterworks” and the London Telegraph called it: “As powerful a show as you are ever likely to see.” The exhibition has also drawn praise from the Economist, Financial Times, New York Times, Time Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and many others.
“As a curator,” said Joseph J. Rishel, Dennis and Gisela Alter Senior Curator of European Painting who organized the exhibition with his colleague Katherine Sachs, “I count my blessings as I witness these works hanging together in our galleries—Matisse’s enormous bathers holding forth with the Cézannes, Picasso’s massive bronzes and Brice Marden’s Red Rocks. It’s rather like watching the splitting of an atom in slow motion.”
Rishel added, “Matisse’s Le Luxe II, from the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, has not been seen in the United States since 1976, and Fernand Leger’s Woman in Blue last appeared in the U.S. in 1953. Not since 1951 have we seen in this country Mondrian’s Composition No. II. How lucky we are in Philadelphia to enjoy them for a while.”
The exhibition also reunites Cézanne’s heroically-scaled Large Bathers with a closely related variant on loan from the National Gallery, London. These seminal works are part of a famous trio that visitors can experience if they travel to the Barnes Foundation in Lower Merion, offering a rare thrill to scholars, specialists and adventurous visitors.
A total of 5,486 school students have seen Cézanne and Beyond, many of them coming with their classes, or as part of the Museum’s after-school art clubs funded by The Delphi Project Foundation and Reliance Standard Life Insurance Company. A total of 136 high school, middle school and elementary school classes have visited from 125 schools, ranging from public, private, and parochial schools in Philadelphia and the surrounding region.
Cézanne and Beyond has also been popular both with Museum members, who experience the exhibition free as a member benefit, and also with visitors who opt to become new members, including Mayor Michael Nutter who purchased a family membership with his wife when visiting the exhibition during Art After Five on a recent Friday evening.
“The Museum has welcomed visitors from around the world who have come to see Cézanne and Beyond,” said Gail Harrity, the Museum’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, “and the exhibition has also helped us to sustain the Museum’s membership at a high of 65,000.”
The exhibition was originally scheduled to close Sunday, May 17, but the Museum succeeded in extending it through May 31. In response to the extension, NBC 10 (WCAU), the exhibition’s broadcast media sponsor—which created an hour-long TV special devoted to the exhibition—will rebroadcast the Cézanne and Beyond feature on Saturday, May 23, at 2 p.m.
“What I truly hope,” Rishel said, “is that everyone who intends to see the show is fully aware that time is slipping by. I can bet that nothing like this will happen again for perhaps another generation.”
Cézanne and Beyond is made possible by ADVANTA.
Additional funding is provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Annenberg Foundation Fund for Major Exhibitions, The Florence Gould Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Fund for Scholarly Publications, the National Endowment for the Arts, and an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Promotional support is provided by NBC 10 WCAU, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News, Philly.com, Amtrak, the Philadelphia Visitors and Convention Bureau, and the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation.