Support funds the conservation of two famed Paul Cézanne paintings in the collection
WASHINGTON, DC—The Phillips Collection has been awarded Bank of America’s 2023 Art Conservation Project Grant for the conservation of two paintings by the influential French artist Paul Cézanne (1839-1906). Seminal to the permanent collection of America’s first museum of modern art, Cézanne’s Mont Sainte-Victoire (1886-1887) and Self-Portrait (1878-1880)—which are in constant demand for exhibitions and loans—are receiving extensive treatment for the first time in forty-five years. Their conservation will transform the appearance of the two compositions, revealing their strength currently obscured by deteriorated varnishes, while also affording scholars the opportunity to examine the artist’s process.
“Cézanne’s works are vitally important to the history of art as well as the history of The Phillips Collection. Our founder Duncan Phillips’s appreciation of Cézanne informed, refined, and educated his eye while broadening his vision of modern art,” says Vradenburg Director and CEO Jonathan P. Binstock. “This Bank of America grant ensures we can provide the careful conservation such meaningful pieces deserve.”
Duncan Phillips purchased the paintings in 1925 and 1928, respectively. As the first Cézanne to enter the collection, Mont Sainte-Victoire was on constant view during Phillips’ lifetime. For decades, Cézanne rendered the mountain from different views and in relationship with changing elements in the landscape like this scene, framed by trees, observed from Bellevue, the artist’s brother-in-law’s estate.
Cézanne’s Self-Portrait was the artist’s first self-portrait to enter an American museum collection. Phillips bought the painting when he was almost the same age as Cézanne was when he painted it. Phillips described it as being for, “ultimate consummation… nothing in the museum can surpass the subtle, solid, modeling of that head of an old lion of a man, the pride and loneliness of him so directly conveyed.”
“The treatment of Mont Sainte-Victoire and Self-Portrait presents the opportunity to study Cézanne’s materials and techniques at distinct moments of his career,” says Elizabeth Steele, The Phillips Collection Head of Conservation, who is overseeing the effort on-site at the museum’s Sherman Fairchild Foundation Conservation Studio. “We’re particularly interested in restoring the volume and depth in the compositions along with brilliance in the artist’s palette.”
The two artworks are part of the museum’s world-renowned unit of six paintings and one print by Cézanne, deemed to be among his finest by many Cézanne scholars. The treatment will result in a unit of fully restored pictures, including previously conserved works such as Ginger Pot with Pomegranate and Pears (1893). These works will be exhibited at The Phillips Collection in spring 2024. Sponsored by Bank of America, the unveiling will feature a symposium and series of programs taking audiences behind the scenes of the treatment process and beneath the paintings’ surfaces.
The Phillips Collection is one of 23 cultural institutions globally to receive the grant and the only recipient in the Washington metropolitan area.
ART CONSERVATION AT BANK OF AMERICA
The Bank of America Art Conservation Project provides grants to nonprofit museums and institutions to conserve works in need of preservation or repair to promote cultural sustainability and ensure audiences can admire and learn more about their cultural and historical significance for decades. To date, more than 237 projects across 40 countries ranging from paintings and sculptures to archeological and architectural pieces have received funding.
“From neighborhood murals to pieces by the world’s most celebrated artists, works of art have the power to encapsulate so much of our dynamic society,” said Larry Di Rita, President, Bank of America Greater Washington, DC. “Partnering with The Phillips Collection is part of the Bank of America commitment to the DMV and will help ensure we can all continue to appreciate and draw inspiration from some of humanity’s most impactful artwork for decades to come.”
This year’s recipients include internationally renowned organizations expanding a diverse range of styles, media, and traditions. The Phillips Collection is also a proud participant in Bank of America’s Museums on Us program, where Bank of America cardholders receive free admission on the first full weekend of each month to the museum.
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IMAGE: Paul Cézanne, Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1886-1987, Oil on canvas, 23.5 x 28.5 in. Acquired 1925, The Phillips Collection
ABOUT THE PHILLIPS COLLECTION
The Phillips Collection, America’s first museum of modern art, was founded in 1921. The museum houses one of the world’s most celebrated Impressionist and American modern art collections and continues to grow its collection with important contemporary voices. Its distinctive building combines extensive new galleries with the former home of its founder, Duncan Phillips. The Phillips’s impact spreads nationally and internationally through its diverse and experimental special exhibitions and events, including its award-winning education programs for educators, students, and adults; renowned Phillips Music series; and dynamic art and wellness and Phillips after 5 events. The museum contributes to global dialogues with events like Conversations with Artists and Artists of Conscience. The Phillips Collection values its community partnership with THEARC—the museum’s satellite campus in Southeast DC. The Phillips Collection is a private, non-governmental museum, supported primarily by donations.
ABOUT BANK OF AMERICA
Bank of America is one of the world’s leading financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle-market businesses and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk management products and services. The company provides unmatched convenience in the United States, serving approximately 68 million consumer and small business clients with approximately 3,900 retail financial centers, approximately 15,000 ATMs and award-winning digital banking with approximately 56 million verified digital users. Bank of America is a global leader in wealth management, corporate and investment banking and trading across a broad range of asset classes, serving corporations, governments, institutions and individuals around the world. Bank of America offers industry-leading support to approximately 3 million small business households through a suite of innovative, easy-to-use online products and services. The company serves clients through operations across the United States, its territories and more than 35 countries. Bank of America Corporation stock (NYSE: BAC) is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.