Portrait of Paul, the Artist's Son (Portrait de Paul, Fils de l'Artiste)

Portrait of Paul, the Artist's Son (Portrait de Paul, Fils de l'Artiste)

photo: Bruce M. White
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About This Work

Paul Cézanne (French, 1839–1906)
Portrait of Paul, the Artist's Son, ca. 1880
Oil on canvas
17.1 x 15.2 cm. (6 3/4 x 6 in.)


[Ambroise Vollard (1867–1939), Paris, by c. 1899]. Dr. George Viau (1855–1939), Paris, sold at auction of the Viau Collection, Galerie Durand-Ruel, Paris, 21–22 Mar. 1907, no. 17, as Tête d'enfant; sold to Michael Stein (1865–1938) and Sarah Stein (1870–1953); by descent to Sarah Stein in 1938. [Stendhal Art Galleries, Los Angeles, ca. 1947]. [James Vigeveno, Ojai, Calif., ca. 1954]. [Lilienfeld Gallery, New York, after 1954]. Henry Pearlman, by 1958; Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation, 1981.

Conservator's Note

In this unfinished oil portrait, large areas of the ground are visible, particularly on the left side of the painting and in the child's neck. Cézanne applied the paint thinly, without the buildup that is evident in his landscapes.

Critical Perspective

Paul was born to the artist and his future wife, Marie-Hortense Fiquet, in 1872. Around 1880, Cézanne executed several rapidly painted portraits of his son. This free, unfinished sketch captures Paul’s still-childish features: the tilt of his head and his dreamy expression. His growing maturity can be followed in the later sketches and a few finished portraits, often from the same angle, and his expression becomes more defined and focused as his personality is affirmed.