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The Large Bathers

Paul Cézanne, French, 1839 - 1906
This is the largest, the last, and in many ways, the most ambitious work from Cézanne’s lifelong exploration of the time-honored theme of nudes in a landscape. It is also, perhaps, in its unfinished state, the purest and most serene witness to the man whom Paul Gauguin described as spending “entire days on mountaintops reading Virgil,” dreaming of wooded glades populated with beautiful figures who, if not exactly participants in a narrative as such, are full of animation and interaction. Perhaps it is its grand nobility—its authority as something beyond time, “like art in the museums,” as Cézanne said—that made it so attractive to many artists....

Object Details
Estate of Paul Cézanne, 1906; purchased by Ambroise Vollard, Paris from Cézanne's son, 1907; Auguste Pellerin (1852-1929), Paris, by 1923; by descent to his son Jean-Victor Pellerin, Paris, 1929-1936 [1]; with Wildenstein & Co., New York, acting as agent for Pellerin, 1936 [2]; purchased by the City of Philadelphia with the W. P. Wilstach Fund, July 6, 1937 [3].1. Lent by M. and Mme. Pellerin to the 1936 exhibition "Cézanne", Musée de l'Orangerie, Paris, no. 107.2. Provenance per John Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1996, no. 857. See also Joseph Rishel, Cézanne in Philadelphia Collections, Philadelphia, 1983, p. xvi. 3. Copy of dated receipt in registrar file.

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