Camille Pissarro, Portrait of Cezanne, etching

Portrait de Cezanne

Delteil 13, Leymarie & Melot 13*

etching, 1874, on medium-fine beige wove paper, a fine impression of the only known state, before the posthumous 1920 edition, printed somewhat dry but with full detail, with good margins, some slight lightstaining from the opening in an old mount, a minuscule restoration in the lower shaded area of the collar without paper loss, otherwise in very good condition

P. 270x218mm., S. 314x259mm.

Delteil mentions only 18 to 20 signed impressions in 1874, and subsequently 75 stamped and numbered impressions in 1920; Cailac added another exceedingly small (trial?) run of 3 impressions in 1911. It would appear that the present impression is from this intermediate edition, which we unfortunately have not been able to document any more fully given its extreme rarity. It is known that the family proceeded with trial printings of the master's plates in the years after his death, and it is possible that Cailac was indeed referring to these. Whatever may be, the present impression is not from the known posthumous edition of 1920 by virtue of the type of paper and the printing style itself.

The early 1870s were crucial to the development of Impressionism. Having known each other for over a decade, Cezanne moved to Auvers-sur-Oise in 1872, initiating a period of close and fruitful collaboration with Pissarro, often working side by side. The following year Pissarro presented him to Dr. Gachet, with whom they both practiced etching. And 1874 was the year of the first Impressionist exhibition...

The present portrait bears witness to this working friendship, and which is one of the earliest known portraits of Cezanne, ruggedly skillful in evoking the artist heavily cloaked in his overcoat and cap, typical of the artist who would stalk the countryside in search of a motif, painting out-of-doors "en pleine air".

* See also Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro, "The Etched and Lithographed Work of Camille Pissarro," in Print Collector's Quarterly IX, pp. 275-301, 1922; Jean Cailac, "The Prints of Camille Pissarro," in Print Collector's Quarterly, XIX, 1932; Ludovic-Rodo Pissarro and Lionel Venturi, Camille Pissarro, son Art, son Oeuvre, 1939; Ralph Shikes and Paula Harper, Pissarro: His Life and Work, 1980