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Paul Cézanne
1839 -1906

Uncle Dominique

Oil on canvas
39 x 30.5 cm

Cézanne maintained that ‘the goal of all art [was] the human face’. He painted portraits throughout his career, and over fifty self-portraits in various media between around 1866 and 1906.
Between October 1866 and January 1867, he painted at least ten portraits of his maternal uncle, Dominique Aubert, a local bailiff. Like others in the series, this was probably painted in a single afternoon session, the oil paint vigorously applied with a palette knife.
Another of Cézanne’s models, the writer Antoine Valabrègue, marvelled at Aubert’s tenacity in modelling so frequently; Cézanne was, he wrote, ‘a horrible painter as regards the poses he gives people … Every time he paints one of his friends, it seems as though he were revenging himself on him for some hidden injury’.

Lent by the Provost and Fellows of King’s College (Keynes collection)