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Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Ninety One - 14 May 2023
Iran Daily - Number Seven Thousand Two Hundred and Ninety One - 14 May 2023 - Page 8

First Paul Cézanne painting in Ireland unveiled by National Gallery

The National Gallery of Ireland unveiled the first painting by the French post-Impressionist Paul Cézanne, a foundational figure for modern art, to go on public display on the island of Ireland.
‘La Vie des Champs’ (Life in the Fields) is a small oil on canvas, just 27.6 x 35.2cm, and was completed in 1877 in Cézanne’s native Provence, in France. The acquisition was announced and unveiled in the gallery’s Millennium Wing by Minister for Arts Catherine Martin and director of the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI) Caroline Campbell.
“This painting by Paul Cézanne, made at a turning point in his career, is a work of international importance,” said Campbell. Martin commended the NGI for securing the painting for the national collection. “‘La Vie des Champs’ is a magnificent addition to the National Gallery and will now be on free display for all to enjoy,” Irish Times reported.
‘La Vie des Champs’ depicts a gathering of farmhands resting in a lush field, with a stream and hill in the background. The focus of the painting is the silhouette of a water-bearing woman with a jug on her head. Tree branches spread in the foreground, with small human figures below and a long sweep of field stretching to steep mountains in the background.
Funding to buy the painting was a mixum-gatherum: a significant but undisclosed sum from the Department of Arts, the NGI’s own resources, and what Martin called “a very generous private philanthropic donation” from someone Campbell described as “a great friend and supporter of the gallery”. The donor wants to be anonymous.
In keeping with secrecy and delays surrounding the unveiling, both Martin and the NGI director were unforthcoming about the price paid for the painting, citing protection of the donor’s privacy and “commercial sensitivity”.
It was bought from Agnew’s, an art dealer in London, in 2022.
What we do know about price is that in April 2018 it sold for $1,450,000 at Freeman’s auction house in Philadelphia, where it was estimated at $1.2-1.8 million. It had been part of the collection of Dorrance “Dodo” Hill Hamilton, an American heir of the Campbell Soup fortune, philanthropist, horticulturist and one of the wealthiest Americans, according to Forbes. Hamilton died in 2017. Originally part of the collection of Cézanne’s dealer Ambroise Vollard, the painting has moved around over the years, mainly within France and, since 1931, in the US.
The painting is a major addition to the NGI’s holdings of late 19th-century European art, and is likely to be a big draw for the public. It is hanging in the last of rooms one to five in the Millenium wing. The provenance is excellent; Cézanne’s signature is not immediately visible to the viewer.


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