Hello, and welcome to Cézanne and the Modern: Masterpieces of European Art from the Pearlman Collection. I am James Steward, director of the Princeton University Art Museum.
Henry Pearlman recalled that his passion for collecting modern art began one day in the mid-1940s, when he passed the American Art Auction Galleries in New York and glimpsed Chaïm Soutine’s The Village Square. He bought the work, and its dense brushstrokes and brilliant colors graced the wall above his mantelpiece, where, he later wrote, it gave him “a lift” each evening when he returned home from work. Over the next three decades, he combined his love of art, his superb eye, and a keen business sense to form one of the great collections of modern art in the United States. His tastes ran from Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec to Modigliani and Soutine, but Cézanne would prove to be his most enduring obsession—his collection includes six paintings and sixteen of the finest extant watercolors by this great modern master. Since the mid-1970s, the Pearlman collection has been on loan to the Princeton University Art Museum, where generations of scholars, students, and visitors have studied and delighted in these works, thus joining Pearlman in what he described as “a road of adventure both exhilarating and satisfying.” Please join us today on this road of adventure in discovering Cézanne and the Modern.