Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant Garde
Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant GardeTechnical QuestionsThe Art Institute of ChicagoThe Art Institute of Chicago  



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    Pierre Bonnard. Ambroise Vollard with His Cat, c. 1924. Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris, PPP 3052
    Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde

    February 17—May 12, 2007
    Regenstein Hall

    Member Preview Days: Thursday, February 15, 10:30–8:00; Friday, February 16, 10:30–5:00

    Members-only Day: Sunday, May 13, 10:00–5:00

    Tickets are required for this exhibition. Art Institute members do not need tickets.

    In 1887 Ambroise Vollard (1866–1939) arrived in Paris with few contacts and no credentials to pursue a career as an art dealer. He began representing artists that were undervalued, exhibiting them at a time when many galleries were not willing to take the risk. In 1895 Vollard hosted Cézanne’s first solo exhibition, and in doing so he made the artist’s reputation as well as his own.

    By the early 20th century, Vollard had become the principal dealer of artists such as Paul Cézanne, Paul Gauguin, and a number of Fauve artists, and lent early support to artists who are well known today—Pierre Bonnard, Aristide Maillol, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and Edouard Vuillard—as well as many who remain relatively unknown. His shrewd mind for business and artistic sense made him the leading contemporary art dealer of his generation.

    Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde draws upon the dealer’s archives—handwritten sale and purchase records, stockbooks, photography, and correspondence—to shed new light not only on Vollard’s business strategies but also on the heretofore unexplored story of his relationships with artists whose work he exhibited and sold. The exhibition underscores Vollard’s achievement in promoting careers and styles to collectors, art critics, and artists, who used his gallery as a meeting place to discuss and buy modern art. Special galleries devoted to individual artists feature works from Vollard’s most important exhibitions, including paintings from his groundbreaking 1895 Cézanne show, a never-before reassembled triptych from Vollard’s 1896 Van Gogh retrospective, and, from Gauguin’s important 1898 exhibition of Tahitian works, the masterpiece Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? lent by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and on view for the first time ever in Chicago.

    The exhibition also highlights Vollard’s importance as a creative catalyst for artists who, in response to his urging, experimented in making a variety of artworks including color print albums, livres d’artiste (limited-edition artists’ books), sculpture, and decorated ceramics. The many and varied portraits of Vollard featured in the exhibition underscore his close relationships to artists and his brilliance as a self-promoter.

    This exhibition was organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris.

    A lavishly illustrated catalogue accompanies this first comprehensive exhibition devoted to Vollard’s extraordinary success as a promoter of modern art. It features 22 essays that examine his career and connections with a number of individual artists and collectors; his business practices; his publication of bronze casts, prints, and artists’ books; his archives in Paris; and the dispersal of his collection after his tragic death in an automobile accident in 1939. Included are essays by organizing curators at the Art Institute, Douglas Druick and Gloria Groom; at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gary Tinterow and Rebecca Rabinow; at the Musée d’Orsay Anne Roquebert and Isabelle Cahn; and independent curator Ann Dumas. The book is currently available in the Museum Shop.

    Cézanne to Picasso: Ambroise Vollard, Patron of the Avant-Garde is curated at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, by Gary Tinterow, Engelhard Curator in Charge, and Rebecca A. Rabinow, Associate Curator, both in the Department of 19th-Century, Modern, and Contemporary Art. 

    At the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition is curated by Douglas W. Druick, Searle Chairman of Medieval through Modern European Painting and Sculpture and Prince Trust Chairman of Prints and Drawings, and Gloria Groom, David and Mary Winton Green Curator of 19th-Century European Painting. 

    At the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, the exhibition is curated by Anne Roquebert, Curator, with the assistance of Isabelle Cahn, Documentary Researcher. 

    Ann Dumas is an independent art historian and curator in London.

    The Metropolitan Museum of Art: September 14, 2006–January 7, 2007
    The Art Institute of Chicago: February 17–May 12, 2007
    Musée d’Orsay, Paris : June 19–September 16, 2007

    The exhibition was organized by the Art Institute of Chicago, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the Musée d'Orsay, Paris, and the Réunion des Musées Nationaux, Paris.

    An indemnity for this exhibition has been granted by the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

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