FLORENCE, ITALY.- Some of Cézannes most important works return to Florence. About a century ago, they were an integral part of the collections found in the Florentine homes of two young collectors, Egisto Paolo Fabbri and Charles Loeser. The exhibition at Palazzo Strozzi is a unique occasion to admire side by side dozens of Cézannes masterpieces, usually found scattered to the four corners of the earth.
In fact, today these works are found in the worlds most important museums, which include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the National Gallery in London, the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence as well as in private collections such as the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collections.
Egisto Paolo Fabbri bought his first Cézanne paintings from Vollard. In 1899 he wrote a letter to the artist, expressing his wish to go to Aix-en-Provence so as to meet him. The painter refused with the usual reluctance, that he also reserved for his few admirers; however he did not hide his sincere surprise in learning that the young collector already owned sixteen of his paintings. The Fabbri collection, which included thirty-two of Cézannes paintings, the majority of a very high quality, was unparalleled in either Europe or the United States in the early 20th century.
During that same period, another important collector, Charles Loeser, had realized the greatness of the painter from Aix. Moving to Florence in 1890, Charles Loeser, encouraged by Bernard Berenson, purchased his first Cézanne landscapes from Vollard in 1896. The paintings fifthteen in all were part of his collection together with precious drawings and ancient art.
The interest aroused by Cézannes painting was an important spur for the organization of the first Italian exhibition of Impressionism, in May 1910, in the rooms of the Florence Lyceum.
At Palazzo Strozzi, it will be possible to appreciate and admire the paintings of Cézanne and of some of his contemporaries, such as Pissarro, Van Gogh and Sargent; it will be possible to understand how a sensitivity and an attention to modernity grew and matured in a cultural context greatly marked by the Renaissance as well as to experience the cultural and artistic climate of the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries in Florence, an ambience formed mainly by world-class personalities such as Bernard Berenson, Vernon Lee, Edith Wharton to name just a few.
In the halls of Palazzo Strozzi, we will also find paintings and sculptures by Italian artists who, elaborating a stylistic and ethical interpretation of the French master in line with the spirit of their times, expressed themselves using a shared language. Among the most important painters are Rosai, Soffici, Muller, Gordigiani, Carena, Ghiglia, together with the sculptors Libero Andreotti and Medardo Rosso.