The Eternal Feminine (L'Éternel Féminin)

Object Details

Title:

The Eternal Feminine (L'Éternel Féminin)

Artist/Maker(s):

Paul Cézanne (French, 1839 - 1906)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

France (Place created)

Date:

about 1877

Medium:

Oil on canvas

Dimensions:

43.2 x 53 cm (17 x 20 7/8 in.)

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The nude played a central role in Paul Cézanne's art throughout his career, but, paradoxically for an artist who usually drew from life, he seldom used nude models in his working process: he was said to be ill-at-ease with naked sitters. "I paint still lifes," he once told Renoir, "Women models frighten me." Cezanne contented instead with studying earlier artists and using the drawings after nude models that he had made in art school in Paris.

The meaning of this enigmatic painting is unclear, and it has been known by several titles. This woman is confronted by devotees from different arts and occupations, among them a mitered bishop, whose admiration seems intrusive, even aggressive. A painter sometimes identified as Eugène Delacroix stands at his easel painting the scene. The bald figure at the painting's bottom may be Cézanne himself. Whether she encourages their adoration, passively accepts it, or is trapped by her cult is unclear. Like many of Cézanne's nudes, the woman's face is nearly blank, except for her red eye sockets. Around 1877 Cézanne began to use the parallel diagonal strokes seen here to impose order and to unify his picture's surface.

Provenance
by 1899 -

Ambroise Vollard, 1867 - 1939

by 1907 - 1929

Auguste Pellerin, 1852 - 1929 (Paris, France), by inheritance to Jean-Victor Pellerin, 1929.

1929 - 1955

Jean-Victor Pellerin (Paris, France), sold to Wildenstein & Co., 1955.

1955 - 1956

Wildenstein & Company, sold to Stavros S. Niarchos, 1956.

1956 - 1958

Stavros S. Niarchos, 1908 - 1996 (Paris, France), sold to Wildenstein & Co., 1958.

1958 - 1959

Wildenstein & Company, sold to Harold Hecht, 1959.

1959 - 1962

Harold Hecht, American, 1907 - 1985 (Beverly Hills, California), sold to Wildenstein & Co., 1962.

1962 - 1973

Wildenstein & Company, sold to Mrs. John Goulandris, 1973.

1973 -

Mrs. John Goulandris (New York, New York)

- 1987

Galerie Beyeler (Basel, Switzerland), sold to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1987.

Exhibitions
Exposition Cézanne (November 1899)
  • Galerie Vollard, (Paris), November to November, 1899, (Cat. 6)
Salon d'Automne (Exposition rétrospective d'oeuvres de Cézanne) (October 1 to October 22, 1907)
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, (Paris), 1907, (Cat. 5)
L'Impressionnisme (June 15 to September 29, 1935)
  • Palais des beaux-arts (Brussels), June 15 to September 29, 1935, (Cat. 10)
Cézanne (May to October, 1936)
  • Musée de l'Orangerie, (Paris), May to October, 1936, (Cat. 37)
Homage to Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) (July 1939)
  • Wildenstein & Co. (London), July to July, 1939, (Cat. 16)
A Loan Exhibition of Cézanne for the Benefit of the New York Infirmary (March 27 to April 26, 1947)
  • Wildenstein & Company, (New York), March 27 to April 26, 1947, (Cat. 13)
Cézanne: Paintings, Watercolors & Drawings (February 7 to May 16, 1952)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, February 7 to March 16, 1952, (Cat. 23)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), April 1 to May 16, 1952, (Cat. 23)
Cien Años de pintura francesa (1953)
  • Instituto Francés de la America Latina, (Mexico City), 1953, (Cat. 22)
Masterpieces of French Painting through Five Centuries (October 17, 1953 to January 10, 1954)
  • Isaac Delgado Museum, (New Orleans), October 17, 1953 to January 10, 1954, (Cat. 80)
Van Gogh et les peintres d'Auvers-sur-Oise (November 26, 1954 to February 28, 1955)
  • Musée de l'Orangerie, (Paris), November 26, 1954 to February 28, 1955, (Cat. 13)
A Loan Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture from the Niarchos Collection (December 3, 1957 to April 20, 1958)
  • Knoedler & Company, (New York), December 3, 1957 to January 18, 1958, (Cat. 6)
  • National Gallery of Canada, (Ottawa), February 5 to March 2, 1958, (Cat. 6)
  • Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, March 15 to April 20, 1958, (Cat. 6)
The Niarchos Collection (May 23 to June 29, 1958)
  • Tate Britain, (London), May 23 to June 29, 1958, (Cat. 6)
Sammlung S. Niarchos (January 15 to March 1, 1959)
  • Kunsthaus Zürich, (Zurich), January 15 to March 1, 1959, (Cat. 30)
Cézanne: Loan Exhibition [...] for the Benefit of The National Organization of Mentally Ill Children (November 5 to December 5, 1959)
  • Wildenstein & Company, (New York), November 5 to December 5, 1959, (Cat. 11)
The French Impressionists and Some of Their Contemporaries (April 24 to May 18, 1963)
  • Wildenstein & Co. (London), April 24 to May 18, 1963, (Cat. 21)
Paul Cézanne: Die Badenden / Paul Cézanne: The Bathers (September 10 to December 10, 1989)
  • Kunstmuseum (Basel), September 10 to December 10, 1989, (Cat. 29)
Cézanne Gemälde (January 16 to May 2, 1993)
  • Kunsthalle Tübingen, January 16 to May 2, 1993, (Cat. 12)
Cézanne (September 25, 1995 to September 1, 1996)
  • Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, (Paris), September 25, 1995 to January 7, 1996, (Cat. 42)
  • Tate Britain, (London), February 8 to April 28, 1996, (Cat. 42)
  • Philadelphia Museum of Art, (Philadelphia), May 26 to September 1, 1996, (Cat. 42)
Faszination Venus: Bilder einer Göttin von Cranach bis Cabanel / Venus: Bilder einer Göttin (October 14, 2000 to August 15, 2001)
  • Wallraf-Richartz-Museum - Fondation Corboud, (Cologne), October 14, 2000 to January 7, 2001, (Cat. 72/40)
  • Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Alte Pinakothek, (Munich), February 1 to April 22, 2001, (Cat. 72/40)
  • Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten Antwerpen, (Antwerp), May 20 to August 15, 2001, (Cat. 72/40)
Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde (September 13, 2006 to September 16, 2007)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), September 13, 2006 to January 7, 2007, (Cat. 29)
  • The Art Institute of Chicago, February 17 to May 13, 2007, (Cat. 29)
Cézanne & Giacometti: Tvivlens veje / Cézanne & Giacometti: Paths of Doubt (February 20 to June 29, 2008)
  • Louisiana Museum of Modern Art (Denmark), February 20 to June 29, 2008, (Cat. 6)
Cézanne et Paris (October 10, 2011 to June 11, 2012)
  • Musée du Luxembourg, (Paris), October 10, 2011 to February 27, 2012, (Cat. 44)
  • National Art Center, Tokyo, March 28 to June 11, 2012, (Cat. 44)
Bibliography

A Loan Exhibition of Cézanne for the Benefit of the New York Infirmary, exh. cat. (New York: Wildenstein, 1947), pp. 30, 40, no. 13, ill.

Dorival, Bernard. Cézanne. H. H. A. Thackthwaite, trans. (New York: Continental Book Center, 1948), pp. 39, 130, 159, pl. 6.

Dorival, Bernard. Cézanne (Paris: Éditions Pierre Tisné, 1948), pp. 40, 135, 176, pl. 6.

Badt, Kurt. Die Kunst Cézannes (Munich: Prestel, 1956), pp. 71, 77, 215, 226.

The French Impressionists and Some of Their Contemporaries, exh. cat. (London: Wildenstein, 1963), p. 8, no. 21, ill.

Orienti, Sandra, and Alfonso Gatto. L'opera completa di Cézanne (Milan: Rizzoli, 1970), pp. 98-99, no. 280, ill.

Orienti, Sandra, and Gaëtan Picon. Tout l'oeuvre peint de Cézanne (Paris: Flammarion, 1975), pp. 98, 100, no. 280, ill.

Adriani, Götz. Paul Cézanne: Aquarelle, exh. cat. (Tübingen: Kunsthalle, with DuMont, 1981), p. 262, under no. 8.

Rewald, John. Paul Cézanne, the Watercolors: A Catalogue Raisonné (Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1983), p. 97, under no. 57; p. 118, under no. 139; p. 179, under no. 385.

Cachin, Françoise, et al. Cézanne, exh. cat. (Paris: Galeries nationales du Grand Palais; Éditions de la réunion des musées nationaux, 1995), pp. 160-62, no. 42, ill., entry by Henri Loyrette.

Jaffé, David. Summary Catalogue of European Paintings in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 25, ill.

Wood, Paul. "The Avant-Garde and the Paris Commune." In The Challenge of the Avant-Garde. Paul Wood, ed. (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, with The Open University, 1999), pp. 134-35, pl. 102.

Armstrong, Carol. Cézanne in the Studio: Still Life in Watercolors, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004), p. 88, fig. 35.