PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
2 More
PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)

Femme allaitant son enfant

PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
Femme allaitant son enfant
oil on canvas
9 1⁄8 x 9 1⁄8 in. (23.2 x 23.2 cm.)
Painted circa 1872
Henri Rouart, Paris; Estate sale, Galerie Manzi-Joyant, Paris, 9-11 December 1912, lot 93.
Jos Hessel, Paris (acquired at the above sale).
Auguste Pellerin, Paris (by 1923).
Jean-Victor Pellerin, Paris (by descent from the above).
Professor D. Carlstrom, Sweden (acquired from the above, 1947); sale, Sotheby's, London, 4 April 1989, lot 30.
Private collection (acquired at the above sale); sale, Sotheby's, London, 4 February 2015, lot 138.
Acquired at the above sale by Arnold and Anne Ulnick Gumowitz.
C.L. Borgmeyer, The Master Impressionists, Chicago, 1913, p. 276 (illustrated; titled Woman and Child).
E. Stuart, "Cezanne and his Place in Impressionism" in Fine Arts Journal, May 1917, vol. 35, no. 5, p. 330 (illustrated; titled Woman and Child).
E. Faure, "Toujours Cezanne" in L'amour de I'art, December 1920, p. 269 (illustrated; titled Maternité).
A. Zeisho, Paul Cezanne, Tokyo, 1921 (illustrated, fig. 32).
A. Fontainas and L. Vauxcelles, Histoire générale de l'art français, Paris, 1922, vol. I, p. 230 (illustrated).
G. Rivière, Le maître Paul Cezanne, Paris, 1923, p. 200 (illustrated, pl. 142; dated 1873 and titled Femme et enfant).
E. Faure, P. Cezanne, Paris, 1926 (illustrated, pl. 3; titled Maternité).
E. d'Ors, Paul Cezanne, Paris, 1930, p. 37 (illustrated; dated 1873 and titled Femme et enfant).
G. Rivière, Cezanne: Le peintre solitaire, Paris, 1933, p. 29 (illustrated; dated 1873 and titled Femme et enfant).
G. d'Ors, Paul Cezanne, New York, 1936 (illustrated, pl. 50).
L. Venturi, Cezanne: Son art—son oeuvre, Paris, 1936, vol. I, p. 116, no. 233 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 63).
J. Rewald, "A propos du catalogue raisonné de l'oeuvre de Paul Cezanne et de la chronologie de cette oeuvre" in La Renaissance, March-April 1937, vol. 20, nos. 3-4, p. 54 (illustrated; with incorrect cataloguing).
G. di San Lazzaro, Paul Cezanne, Paris, 1936, no. 50 (illustrated; dated 1873 and titled Maternité).
A. Leclerc, Cezanne, New York, 1948, p. 9 (illustrated).
P. Gachet, Deux amis des Impressionnistes: Le Docteur Gachet et Murer, Paris, 1956 (illustrated, fig. 21; dated 1873 and titled Mme. Cezanne et son fils).
S. Orienti, The Complete Paintings of Cezanne, Paris, 1972, p. 96, no. 248 (illustrated, p. 97).
J. Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cezanne: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1996, vol. I, p. 158, no. 216 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 72).
P. Machotka, Cezanne: The Eye and the Mind, Marseille, 2008, vol. I, p. 91 (illustrated, vol. II, fig. 117).
C. Armstrong, Cezanne's Gravity, New Haven, 2018 (illustrated in color, fig. 81).
G.-P. and F. Dauberville, Paul Cezanne chez Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 2020, p. 574, no. 170 (illustrated, p. 575).
P. Cezanne, Paul Cezanne dépeint par ses contemporains, Lyon, 2021 (illustrated, fig. 139).
W. Feilchenfeldt, J. Warman and D. Nash, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: An Online Catalogue Raisonné (, no. FWN 618 (illustrated in color).
Lausanne, Fondation de l'Hermitage, L'impressionnisme dans les collections romandes, June-October 1984, p. 185, no. 103 (illustrated in color).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Madame Cezanne, February-March 2015, p. 23 (illustrated in color, pl. 3).

Brought to you by

Margaux Morel
Margaux Morel Associate Vice President, Specialist and Head of the Day and Works on Paper sales

Lot Essay

Paul Cezanne’s Femme allaitant son enfant depicts the artist’s future wife, Hortense Fiquet, with their son Paul, born on January 4, 1872. Cezanne represents Hortense as a caring new mother, reclining in bed nursing her infant cradled in her arms. This painting reflects Cezanne’s close study of his partner and their baby at a moment of personal and artistic transformation: as John Rewald observed, “This may very well have been one of the first pictures Cezanne painted inside after his 'conversion' to Impressionism; as such it strikes a new note in his work and, at the same time, reveals some of the tenderness inherent to the recent experience of fatherhood” (op.cit., 1996, vol. 2, p. 158).
This work is among more than two dozen portraits that Cezanne painted of Hortense in the early 1870s and 1890s—more than any other artist ever made of his wife, according to art historian Carol Armstrong. While Cezanne produced numerous notebook sketches depicting Hortense and Paul, this is the only known painting that pictures Hortense and Paul together. Here, Hortense appears as a modern, secular Madonna, who epitomizes the raw devotion and sacrifice of new motherhood. This painting was most recently exhibited in New York at the 2014-2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art show, Madame Cezanne, which reunited many of the extant portraits of Hortense.
The intimate embrace of mother and child in Femme allaitant son enfant is an universally appealing theme—albeit, a totally unprecedented one in Cezanne’s oeuvre. Yet this portrait of maternal tenderness was painted during a moment of contemporary cultural debate about the merits of breastfeeding one’s own child, as opposed to hiring a wet nurse. This was, above all, an issue of social class. As the art historian Linda Nochlin wrote, “Few upper-class women in the later nineteenth century would have dreamed of breastfeeding their own children, and only a limited proportion of women of the artisan class, who had to work themselves or lived in crowded quarters, have the chance to do so" (“Morisot’s Wet Nurse: The Construction of Work and Leisure in Impressionist Painting” in The Expanding Discourse: Feminism and Art History, New York, 1992, p. 237). This subject was topical in the Impressionist circle, as well. Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted his partner Aline nursing their son Pierre (1886; sale, Christie’s, New York, 2 December 2020, lot 47), while Berthe Morisot painted a hired wet nurse nursing her daughter, Julie (1879, private collection). Given their own financial straits when Paul was born, however, Cezanne and Hortense certainly could not afford to pay for this kind of help; Hortense would breastfeed Paul herself.
This painting first belonged to Henri Rouart, the famed industrialist and art collector. Rouart was trained as a civil engineer and made his fortune in manufacturing metal, but he was also fascinated by contemporary art and dabbled in painting himself. Rouart submitted his own work to seven of the eight Impressionist exhibitions between 1874 and 1886, and had a particularly close relationship with Edgar Degas, a leader of the Impressionist movement and Rouart’s former schoolmate. Degas painted a now iconic portrait of a handsome, bearded Rouart wearing a top hat, standing in front of his factory in Montluçon (1875, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh). Rouart—himself the father of five children—also assembled a large collection of paintings by other modern French painters, including several canvases by Cezanne.
Rouart kept Cezanne’s Femme allaitant son enfant until his death in January 1912, after which his collection was sold at auction. The legendary Rouart sale included a total of five paintings by Cezanne—three of which were purchased at the sale by the American collector Dr. Albert Barnes and now belong to The Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Femme allaitant son enfant was purchased by the dealer Jos Hessel—probably on behalf of his client Auguste Pellerin, the most prolific Cezanne collector of the twentieth century. Hessel paid 10,000 francs against an estimate of 3,000, a fantastic price that reflected the rising market for Cezanne’s work following his death in 1906.

More from Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale

View All
View All