Hidden Cézanne sketches found

Two unfinished sketches by the post-impressionist master Cézanne have been discovered during a recent paper conservation treatment by the Barnes Foundation, which is based in Philadelphia in the US.
They were found on the reverse side of two landscape watercolour paintings by the French painter – The Chaine de l’Etoile Mountains and Trees, which are normally on view in room 20 of the Collection Gallery.
It is assumed that these sketches – one executed in graphite, the other in watercolour – have not been seen in over a century, most likely prior to Dr Albert C. Barnes, the foundation’s founder, acquiring them in 1921.
“Barnes bought The Chaine de l’Etoile Mountains and Trees from Leo Stein, the American collector who, along with his sister, Gertrude, had assembled one of the world’s most important collections of modern European art,” explained Martha Lucy, assistant professor at Drexel University and consulting curator at the Barnes Foundation.
“What Barnes probably didn’t know was that in purchasing these two watercolours from Stein, he had actually acquired four works by Cézanne.”
The foundation is putting these marvellous sketches on show from April 10th until May 18th, courtesy of double-sided frames. Afterwards, the works will return to their previous positions.
Cézanne often worked on both sides of paper in his sketchbooks, a practice that would, on occasion, extend onto larger sheets of paper, as has been demonstrated by these recent finds.
The drawings allowed the legendary painter to execute mock-ups for eventual paintings, but would also serve as a means to experiment with line and colour.
“These sketches offer a window into Cezanne’s artistic process, which is truly invaluable,” commented Barbara Buckley, senior director of conservation and chief conservator of paintings at the Barnes Foundation.
“It is with great excitement that we share this discovery with our students and visitors. Our new facilities on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway allow us to do much more comprehensive conservation than ever before and we know there are many more discoveries within the Barnes Collection waiting to be unearthed.”
The foundation said that the importance of conservation efforts has once again been highlighted by these discoveries. This particular project, which was overseen by Ms Buckley, was delivered by specialists at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia.
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