Portraying Cézanne’s skill


By Amit Roy

FOR those who like portraiture, Cézanne Por­traits, which opened last week at the National Portrait Gallery and will remain on display until February 11, 2018, is a treat.

“This is truly a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition,” says the NPG’s director, Dr Nicholas Cullinan.

The exhibition brings together some 50 of the 200 portraits Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) painted during his career. They are borrowed from col­lections in Brazil, Denmark, France, Russia, Sweden, the US and the UK and include his self portraits in a bowler hat (pictured), as well as those of his wife, Hortense Fiquet, his maternal uncle Dominique Aubert and people he came across in everyday life, such as a “man with a pipe” or a “boy in a red waistcoat”.

One of my favourites is that of The Artist’s Father, Reading L’Événement”, from 1866. Lou­is-Auguste Cézanne was almost Indian in the way he wanted his son to do a proper job in banking or the law rather than art.

By and large, Asian artists – with some hon­ourable exceptions (Shanti Panchal) – do not go in for portrait painting, which is a pity.

Plenty of photographs were taken of the mov­ers and shakers in the Asian community at the launch of the GG2 Power List last Thursday (26). But we could have done with a latter-day Cézanne