When Paul Cézanne died in October 1906, aged sixty-seven (he was born in January 1839), ten of his paintings were hastily assembled for exhibition that month at the Salon d’Automne, in homage. A year later, a large memorial retrospective was organized for the 1907 Salon d’Automne. As anyone interested in modernism knows, these shows, particularly the 1907 retrospective, had a transforming effect on an entire generation of adventurous young painters, an effect so powerful that it’s not an overstatement to say that it changed the course of Western art.

The impact of the more than fifty paintings and works on paper at the 1907 Salon d’Automne was overwhelming, even for those who already knew Cézanne’s work—Georges Braque, for example, had discovered him a few years earlier at the Musée de Luxembourg, in the Caillebotte collection, on view after years of wrangling. Cézanne...

 
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