Xico Greenwald reviews Madame Cézanne at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, on view through March 15, 2015.
Greenwald writes: "Though this exhibit is, indeed, marvelous, [curator Dita] Amory’s revisionist history is a distraction. Claiming 'a tender interchange' can be detected in Madame Cézanne’s gaze, museumgoers searching for signs of affection in these portraits will be disappointed. What is remarkable is how unrecognizable Hortense Fiquet is from one painting to the next. Going from portrait to portrait is disorienting precisely because these paintings are not concerned with likeness; nor do these works seek to express Hortense Fiquet’s personality. Rather, the paintings here seem to convey the inevitable gulf between people. Trapped inside his limited perspective, these works reflect the artist’s unbiased study of the outside world. Cézanne said above all he hoped for 'certainty.' Careful not to project his personality onto his subject matter, he struggled to see his environment with fresh eyes while composing beautifully designed paintings."