Madame CÚzanne

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Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2014 - Art - 224 pages
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A new account of CÚzanne's complex relationship with his wife, who served as the subject of some of his most iconic portraits

Paul CÚzanne's (1839-1906) portraits of Hortense Fiquet (1850-1922), his wife and the subject of some of his iconic portraits, rank among the most powerful of their kind in French modernism. Yet, posterity has not been kind to Madame CÚzanne. She was called a distraction, blamed for her husband's "lackluster" landscapes, and disdained for her impenetrable expression in the paintings. The reality is more complex, for while Fiquet may not have been the passion of CÚzanne's lifetime, she was a willing accomplice, as model, mother of his only son, and unwavering partner against all odds.

Madame CÚzanne examines this unique relationship as it looks at CÚzanne the painter, draftsman, and portraitist. Featuring 24 of CÚzanne's oil portraits of Fiquet and most of the known drawings, Madame CÚzanne both reevaluates, with insight and compassion, the long-held misconceptions about the CÚzannes' unconventional marriage, and shows how CÚzanne's portraits of his wife provide a lens through which to better understand his overall technique.
 

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About the author (2014)

Dita Amory is acting associate curator-in-charge, Robert Lehman Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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