Antoine Dominique Sauveur Aubert (born 1817), the Artist's Uncle, as a Monk
Paul Cézanne (French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence)
Oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 21 1/2 in. (65.1 x 54.6 cm)
The Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg Collection, Gift of Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, 1993, Bequest of Walter H. Annenberg, 2002
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 822
In the fall of 1866 Cézanne painted nine portraits of his maternal uncle, Dominique Aubert. The forty-nine-year-old bailiff indulged his nephew with multiple sittings and agreed to pose in various costumes. Whereas he is shown here in the habit of a Dominican monk, in another likeness (53.140.1) he wears a tasseled cap and robe.
In the mid-1860s the young Cézanne applied paint thickly with a palette knife in emulation of his hero Courbet.
the sitter, Antoine Dominique Sauveur Aubert; his estate, Arles (until 1914; sold for Fr 1,200 to Perls); [Hugo Perls, Berlin, from 1914]; [Hans Wendland, Berlin, Berlin, until 1916; sold on June 9 for 22,000 marks to Cassirer]; [Paul Cassirer, Berlin; stock no. 2667; sold on June 16, 1916 for 27,000 marks to Schmitz]; Oscar Schmitz, Blasewitz near Dresden, and, from October 1931, Zürich (1916–d. 1933; one of fifty-seven paintings and other works of art deposited at Kunsthaus Zürich on October 20, 1931); Schmitz estate (1933–36; painting remained in care of Kunsthaus Zürich until sent with Schmitz collection to Kunstmuseum Basel on February 22, 1934; consigned or sold by 1936 to Wildenstein); [Wildenstein, Paris, London, and New York, 1936–40; sold to Frick]; The Frick Collection, New York (1940–49; consigned to Wildenstein, New York, in October 1949; sold on November 21 to Haupt); Mrs. Ira (Enid A.) Haupt, New York (1949–83; sold to Annenberg); her brother and his wife, Walter H. and Leonore Annenberg, Rancho Mirage, Calif. (1983–93; jointly with MMA, 1993–his d. 2002)
Dresden. location unknown. "Internationale Kunstausstellung Dresden," June–September 1926, no. 78 (as "Der Dominikaner," lent by Oscar Schmitz, Dresden).
Berlin. Hugo Perls. "Französische Malerei des XIX. Jahrhunderts," January–February 1927, no. 6 (as "Onkel Dominique").
Kunsthaus Zürich. "Sammlung Oscar Schmitz: Französische Malerei des XIX. Jahrhunderts," 1932, no. 27 (as "Le Dominicain").
Kunsthaus Zürich. "Französische Malerei des XIX. Jahrhunderts," May 14–August 6, 1933, no. 77 (as "Der Monch").
Paris. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "La collection Oscar Schmitz: Chefs-d'oeuvre de la peinture française du XIXe siècle," 1936, no. 7 (as "Portrait de moine").
New York. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "The Oscar Schmitz Collection: Masterpieces of French Painting of the Nineteenth Century New York 1936 (2/2)," 1936, no. 7.
Palais Saint-Pierre, Musée de Lyon. "Centenaire de Paul Cézanne," 1939, no. 4 (as "Portrait de 'L'Oncle Dominique,' en costume de père blanc," lent by M. Georges Wildenstein, Paris).
London. Wildenstein & Co., Inc. "Homage to Paul Cézanne (1839–1906)," July 1939, no. 2 (as "Portrait of the 'Oncle Dominique' Dressed as a Monk," lent by Wildenstein).
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition," July 1–September 1, 1958, no. 20 (as "Uncle Dominic," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt).
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Painting," April 25–May 24, 1959, unnumbered cat. (p. 26, as "Uncle Dominic in Monk's Dress," lent by Mr. and Mrs. Ira Haupt).
Philadelphia Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 21–September 17, 1989, unnumbered cat. (as "Portrait of Uncle Dominique as a Monk").
Washington. National Gallery of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," May 6–August 5, 1990, unnumbered cat.
Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," August 16–November 11, 1990, unnumbered cat.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection," June 4–October 13, 1991, unnumbered cat.
Julius Meier-Graefe. Cézanne und sein Kreis: Ein Beitrag zur Entwicklungsgeschichte. 3rd ed. [1st ed., 1918]. Munich, 1920, pp. 73, 79, 85, ill., dates it circa 1864 and places it in the Schmitz collection, Dresden.
Karl Scheffler. "Die Sammlung Oskar Schmitz in Dresden." Kunst und Künstler 19 (1921), pp. 185, 188, ill., calls it "Der Dominikaner" and dates it about 1875.
Georges Rivière. Le Maître Paul Cézanne. Paris, 1923, p. 196, calls it "Portrait d'un jeune homme en costume de moine" and dates it 1864.
Marie Dormoy. "La collection Schmitz à Dresde." L'Amour de l'art 7 (October 1926), pp. 7, 340–42, ill., calls it "Le Dominicain" and notes that it is an unusual composition in Cézanne's oeuvre.
O. Schürer. "Internationale Kunstausstellung Dresden III." Deutsche Kunst und Dekoration 59 (February 1927), p. 271, calls it "Der Mönch".
Emil Waldmann. "La Collection Schmitz: L'art français." Documents 2 (1930), p. 320.
Lionello Venturi. Cézanne: son art—son oeuvre. Paris, 1936, vol. 1, pp. 21–22, 82, no. 72; vol. 2, pl. 18, no. 72, calls it "Portrait de moine" and dates it 1865–67; notes that it is on loan to the Kunstmuseum, Basel.
René Huyghe. Cézanne. Paris, 1936, p. 32, calls it "Oncle Dominique".
Eugenio d'Ors. "Crise de Cézanne." Gazette des beaux-arts 15 (June 1936), fig. 7.
The Oscar Schmitz Collection: Masterpieces of French Painting of the Nineteenth Century. Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. New York, 1936, pp. 26–27, ill., calls it "Portrait of Uncle Dominique in Penitent's Garb" and dates it about 1865–67; notes that it was in the collection of the sitter and his family until it was sold to Germany and purchased by Schmitz in 1916.
Raymond Cogniat. Cézanne. Paris, 1939, pl. 15, calls it "Portrait de moine" and dates it 1865–67.
Homage to Paul Cézanne (1939–1906). Exh. cat., Wildenstein & Co., Inc. London, 1939, unpaginated, no. 2, ill., calls it "Portrait of the 'Oncle Dominique' Dressed as a Monk" and dates it about 1866; quotes from a letter of November 1866 written by Ant[h]ony Valabrègue, a friend who also posed for Cézanne, to Émile Zola: "I luckily only had to sit for one day. The uncle acts more often as model. Every afternoon, a portrait of him appears, while Guillemet makes atrocious jokes at his expense.".
Musée de Lyon, Palais Saint-Pierre. Centenaire de Paul Cézanne. Exh. cat.Lyons, 1939, unpaginated, no. 4, pl. II, calls it "Portrait de 'l'Oncle Dominique' en costume de père blanc" and dates it 1865–67.
"A Cézanne for the Frick." Art News 38 (April 20, 1940), p. 18, ill. on cover, calls it "Uncle Dominic as a Monk"; dates it 1864–67, when the sitter was Cézanne's favorite model; attaches no significance to the costume except to make possible certain combinations of line and color.
"The Frick Cézanne." Art Quarterly 3 (Spring 1940), pp. 230, 232, ill. p. 221, dates it 1864–67; suggests the influence of Manet for costume portraits and of Courbet for the thickly-modelled surface achieved with the palette knife; discusses the "evocation of massive volumes firmly realized in space" as foreshadowing later developments in the artist's career.
Helen Comstock. "The Connoisseur in America: A Cézanne Portrait for the Frick Collection." Connoisseur 106 (December 1940), pp. 209–10, calls it "Uncle Dominic" and dates it to the 1860s; calls it "the logical predecessor of his later self-portraits".
Bryan Holme. "In the World's Art Centres: New York." Studio 120 (July 1940), p. 28, ill., calls it "Uncle Dominic" and "Portrait of Uncle Dominic as a Monk"; observes in it the influence of El Greco.
"Prophetic Cézanne Acquired by Frick." Art Digest (May 1, 1940), p. 9, ill.
Sheldon Cheney. The Story of Modern Art. [4th reprint, 1947]. New York, 1941, pp. 210–11, ill., compares its pictorial structure to Daumier.
Regina Shoolman and Charles E. Slatkin. The Enjoyment of Art in America. Philadelphia, 1942, p. 560, pl. 560.
Hans Graber. Paul Cézanne: nach eigenen und fremden Zeugnissen. Basel, 1942, p. 316, ill. opp. p. 14, dates it 1866.
Preface by Edward Alden Jewell inFrench Impressionists and Their Contemporaries Represented in American Collections. New York, 1944, ill. p. 130, dates it 1865–67.
Edward Alden Jewell. Paul Cézanne. New York, 1944, ill. p. 15.
The Frick Collection: Paintings. New York, 1945, p. 13, no. 144, places it in "the early romantic period" and notes that it "bears the print of thumb and palette knife"; mistakenly identifies the sitter as Cézanne's uncle Louis Aubert.
The Frick Collection Handbook. New York, 1947, p. 18, dates it to the mid-1860s; compares it to "Chestnut Trees at the Jas de Bouffan" (about 1885–87; Minneapolis Institute of Arts; R551).
Bernard Dorival. Cézanne. [English ed., 1948]. Paris, 1948, pp. 25–26, 133, 142, calls it "Portrait de l'Oncle Dominique en moine" and "Portrait de moine" and dates it 1865–67; notes that it is one of no fewer than sixteen portraits painted between 1862 and 1872 in the "couillarde" manner
John Rewald. Paul Cézanne: A Biography. New York, 1948, p. 45.
Liliane Guerry. Cézanne et l'expression de l'espace. [1st ed.; 2nd ed., 1966]. Paris, 1950, p. 28, notes that all of the paintings of Uncle Dominique were executed with the palette knife; erroneously locates it still in the Schmitz collection.
Lionello Venturi. Impressionists and Symbolists. Vol. 2, New York, 1950, pp. 120–21, 126–27, fig. 117, dates it 1865–67; compares it to "Portrait of Victor Chocquet" (1876–77; private collection, New York; R292).
A[lfred]. M. F[rankfurter]. "Frick Anniversary and Controversy." Art News 48 (January 1950), p. 18, ill., criticizes the Frick's decision to sell this work.
Meyer Schapiro. Paul Cézanne. 1st ed. New York, 1952, p. 32, ill. opp. (color), dates it about 1866; suggests that the Dominican robe may be more than a play on the sitter's name since the Dominican order had been revived by the preacher, Lacordaire, whose support for republican ideals and the renewal of religious art appealed to many painters.
Georg Schmidt. Aquarelles de Paul Cézanne. [Eng. ed. 1953]. Basel, 1952, p. 11.
Theodore Rousseau Jr. Paul Cézanne (1839–1906). New York, 1953, unpaginated, colorpl. 9, dates it about 1866 and observes "a certain sardonic humur underlying the theatrical effect".
Helmut Ruhemann. "Methods of the Masters—II." Studio 145 (1953), pp. 38–39, pl. 6, dates it 1865–67 and compares the brushwork to that of van Gogh.
Lawrence Gowing and Ronald Alley. An Exhibition of Paintings by Cézanne. Exh. cat., Royal Scottish Academy Building. Edinburgh, 1954, unpaginated, under no. 2, date the series of paintings of Uncle Dominique between August and December 1866, while Cézanne was in Aix.
Rudolph Arnheim. Art and Visual Perception. Berkeley, 1954, p. 59, ill. (diagram), discusses the vertical axis set up by the face, the cross, and the border of the sleeve, thus connecting the subject's mind to the symbol of his faith.
Lionello Venturi. Four Steps Toward Modern Art: Giorgione, Caravaggio, Manet, Cézanne. New York, 1956, pp. ix, 67, 70, fig. 25.
Ralph T. Coe. "Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings in Washington." Burlington Magazine 101 (June 1959), p. 242, dates it 1865–67.
Fritz Novotny. Painting and Sculpture in Europe, 1780 to 1880. Baltimore, 1960, p. 206.
Melvin Waldfogel. "The Bathers of Paul Cézanne." PhD diss., Harvard University, 1961, vol. 1, p. 30, calls the Uncle Dominique series "the beginning of Cézanne's education as a modern painter"; suggests the influence of Manet's "Praying Monk" (1865; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston).
Hugo Perls. Warum ist Kamilla schön? Von Kunst, Künstlern und Kunsthandel. Munich, 1962, p. 34, ill.
Theodore Reff. "Cézanne, Flaubert, St. Anthony, and the Queen of Sheba." Art Bulletin 44 (June 1962), p. 114, cites this work as an example of Cézanne's "preoccupation with themes of solitude".
H. H. Arnason. History of Modern Art: Painting, Sculpture, Architecture. New York, , pp. 43–44, fig. 42, dates it about 1866 and places it within both the classic and romantic traditions; states that "this painting may have been one of the first attempts to establish control over the Baroque violence that permeated [Cézanne's] early figure studies".
Frank Elgar. Cézanne. New York, , pp. 32, 275, fig. 16 (color).
Chuji Ikegami. Cézanne. Tokyo, 1969, p. 104, fig. 5, calls it "Portrait de moine" and dates it 1865–67.
Jack Lindsay. Cézanne: His Life and Art. Greenwich, Conn., 1969, p. 116, fig. 7, calls it "Uncle Dominique" and dates it 1866.
Sandra Orienti inL'opera completa di Cézanne. [French ed., 1975; English ed., 1985]. Milan, 1970, pp. 88–89, no. 63, ill., dates it 1865.
Lydie Huyghe in René Huyghe. La Relève du réel: la peinture française au XIXe siècle: impressionnisme, symbolisme. Paris, 1974, pp. 201, 434, date it 1865–67.
Nicholas Wadley. Cézanne and His Art. London, 1975, p. 19, colorpl. 97, calls it "Uncle Dominique (Portrait de Moine)" and dates it 1865–67.
A. Barskaya. Paul Cézanne. Leningrad [St. Petersburg], 1975, pp. 13–14, ill., dates it about 1865.
Theodore Reff inCézanne: The Late Work. Ed. William Rubin. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1977, p. 21, discusses it as an early example of the recurrent motif of folded arms, here suggesting a "melancholy resignation".
Sidney Geist. "What Makes 'The Black Clock' Run?" Art International 22 (February 1978), p. 10, dates it 1865; cites it as an example of Cézanne's equation of image and word, which provided the artist with an "unconscious principle of organization".
Jutta Hülsewig. Das Bildnis in der Kunst Paul Cézannes. Bochum, Germany, 1981, p. 237.
John Rewald. Cézanne: A Biography. New York, 1986, p. 272, ill. p. 44 (color), calls it "Portrait of Uncle Dominique as a Monk" and dates it about 1866.
Kimio Nakayama. Cézanne. Tokyo, 1986, ill. p. 78, dates it 1865.
Gary Neil Wells. "Metaphorical Relevance and Thematic Continuity in the Early Paintings of Paul Cézanne, 1865–1877." PhD diss., Ohio State University, 1987, pp. 71–81, 106 n. 53, p. 107 n. 57, p. 275, pl. XVII, compares the portraits of Uncle Dominique to those of Cézanne's father and Achille Emperaire; suggests a relationship between this painting and that of Mary Magdalene painted by Cézanne on the walls of the Jas de Bouffan (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; R146); observes that "the lawyer represents education, success and social status, the monk represents study, meditation and dedication, and the artisan represents training, talent and skill".
Lawrence Gowing inCézanne: The Early Years 1859–1872. Ed. Mary Anne Stevens. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London. New York, 1988, pp. 9, 104, 112, ill. [French ed., Paris, 1988, pp. 22, 95, 100, ill.], groups it among the palette-knife pictures executed between August 1866 and January 1867; suggests that this picture was the first to represent Dominique in costume.
Sidney Geist. Interpreting Cézanne. Cambridge, Mass., 1988, pp. 3, 5, 64–65, 277, pl. 2, dates it 1866; notes the interplay of word and image between the sitter's cross and crossed arms; compares it to Manet's "La belle andalouse" (Emery Reeve Collection, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat), which Cézanne could have seen in April 1866.
Sylvie Patin inCézanne: The Early Years 1859–1872. Ed. Mary Anne Stevens. Exh. cat., Royal Academy of Arts, London. New York, 1988, pp. 55, 64 n. 16 [French ed., Paris, 1988, pp. 55, 63 n. 16], erroneously states that it was once owned by Heinrich Morstatt.
Colin B. Bailey. "La Collection Annenberg." L'Oeil nos. 408–9 (July–August 1989), pp. 45–46, fig. 10, calls it "Portrait de l'oncle Dominique en moine" and dates it about 1866.
Nina Athanassoglou-Kallmyer. "Museum News: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 'Cézanne: The Early Years, 1859–1872'." Art Journal 49 (Spring 1990), p. 74, remarks that Uncle Dominique's various costumes, including this one, reflect Cézanne's "awareness of Second-Empire society and its artists".
Hajo Düchting. Paul Cézanne 1839–1906: Natur wird Kunst. Ed. Ingo F. Walther. [Engl. ed., 1999]. Cologne, 1990, pp. 37, 46, 166, ill. p. 44 (color), dates it about 1866.
Joseph J. Rishel inMasterpieces of Impressionism & Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Colin B. Bailey, Joseph J. Rishel, and Mark Rosenthal. Exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art. Philadelphia, 1991, pp. 72–75, 77, 178–79, 187 n. 1, ill. (color and black and white), states that Cézanne painted this canvas in the company of the painter Antoine Guillemet during the autumn of 1866; notes that the sitter's pose with folded arms across his chest would reappear in Cézanne's portraits of the 1890s.
Gary Tinterow. "Miracle au Met." Connaissance des arts no. 472 (June 1991), pp. 37–38, 40, ill. (color).
Jérôme Coignard. "Le Salon de peinture de Mr. et Mrs. Annenberg." Beaux arts no. 92 (July–August 1991), p. 69, ill. p. 64 (color).
Richard Verdi. Cézanne. London, 1992, pp. 27–28, fig. 16, calls it "Portrait of Uncle Dominic"; suggests that the "almost unbearable fixity" and the expressionless gaze of the sitter in this series may indicate Cézanne's inability to relax before his portrait subjects.
Sylvie Patin. "Deux 'figures' de Cézanne au musée d'Orsay." Revue des musées de France: Revue du Louvre 42 (April 1992), p. 16.
Gary Tinterow. "Recent Acquisitions, A Selection: 1993–1994." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 52 (Fall 1994), p. 48, ill. (color), calls it "Dominique Aubert, the Artist's Uncle, as a Monk".
Maria Teresa Benedetti. Cézanne. [Italian ed., 1995]. Paris, 1995, pp. 52–53, ill. (color).
Joyce Medina. Cézanne and Modernism: The Poetics of Painting. Albany, 1995, p. 157.
Linda Nochlin. "Cézanne: Studies in Contrast." Art in America 84 (June 1996), p. 59.
John Rewald, in collaboration with Walter Feilchenfeldt, and Jayne Warman. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné. New York, 1996, vol. 1, pp. 12, 103, 568–69, 571, no. 108; vol. 2, p. 37, fig. 108, calls it "Portrait d'un Moine (L'Oncle Dominique)" and dates it about 1866; relates its chance discovery as part of the sitter's estate by Hugo and Käte Perls in 1914 [see provenance].
Henri Loyrette inCézanne. Exh. cat., Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris. Philadelphia, 1996, p. 89 [French ed., Paris, 1995], observes that the sitter's pronounced individuality is recognizable despite this and other disguises, which are "pretexts for successive metamorphoses".
Linda Nochlin. Cézanne's Portraits. Lincoln, Neb., 1996, pp. 9–10, observes that the "expressionist intensity" and tension of the pose are due to the slightly off-balance relationships of the verticals in this picture.
Theodore Reff. "Cézanne et Chardin." Cézanne aujourd'hui. Paris, 1997, p. 17.
Ira Berkow. "Jewels in the Desert." Art News 97 (May 1998), pp. 146, 149.
Mary Tompkins Lewis. Cézanne. London, 2000, pp. 55, 58–59, 82, 92, fig. 31 (color).
Heike Biedermann inDie Moderne und ihre Sammler: Französische Kunst in Deutschem Privatbesitz vom Kaiserreich zur Weimarer Republik. Ed. Andrea Pophanken and Felix Billeter. Berlin, 2001, p. 214, as "Portrait d'un moine".
Mary Tompkins Lewis. "The Path to Les Lauves: A History of Cézanne's Studios." Atelier Cézanne. [Aix-en-Provence], 2002, p. 12, fig. 5 (color).
Nina Maria Athanassoglou-Kallmyer. Cézanne and Provence: The Painter in His Culture. Chicago, 2003, p. 75, fig. 2.22 (color).
Bruno Ely. "'Pater omnipotens Aeterne Deus': L'achat et la vente du Jas de Bouffan par la famille Cézanne." Jas de Bouffan—Cézanne. Aix-en-Provence, 2004, ill. p. 24 (color).
Richard R. Brettell and Stephen F. Eisenman. Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum. Ed. Sara Campbell. Vol. 1, New Haven, 2006, pp. 294–96, fig. 79a.
Heike Biedermann inVon Monet bis Mondrian: Meisterwerke der Moderne aus Dresdner Privatsammlungen der ersten Hälfte des 20.Jahrhunderts. Ed. Heike Biedermann et al. Exh. cat., Galerie Neue Meister, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Munich, 2006, p. 50, fig. 16 (color).
Susan Alyson Stein inThe Masterpieces of French Painting from The Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1800–1920. Exh. cat., Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. New York, 2007, p. 106, under no. 72.
Susan Alyson Stein inMasterpieces of European Painting, 1800–1920, in The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2007, p. 120 under no. 109.
Joseph J. Rishel inMasterpieces of Impressionism and Post-Impressionism: The Annenberg Collection. Ed. Susan Alyson Stein and Asher Ethan Miller. 4th rev. ed. [1st ed., 1989]. New York, 2009, pp. 136–141, 171 n. 1, no. 26, ill. (color).
Charlotte Hale in Dita Amory. Madame Cézanne. Exh. cat., The Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York, 2014, p. 175 n. 21, notes its colored priming.
This work belongs to a series of nine portraits of Cézanne's maternal uncle, Dominique Aubert, which Cézanne painted in the fall of 1866 at his father's home, the Jas de Bouffan in Aix. The other portraits are in the MMA (53.140.1; R107), the Musée d'Orsay, Paris (R106), the Norton Simon Art Foundation, Pasadena (R102), King's College, Cambridge, on loan to the Fitzwilliam Museum (R111), and various private collections (R103, 104, 105, 109).