Cézanne – Portraits of a Life, in cinemas from Sept 20 – Oct 18, 2018   

August 27, 2018

Based on the ‘once in a lifetime’ exhibition Written and Directed by Phil Grabsky

Cézanne – Portraits of a Life, in cinemas from Sept 20 – Oct 18, 2018   

Based on the ‘once in a lifetime’ exhibition Written and Directed by Phil Grabsky

Described by Picasso and Matisse as “the father of us all”, Cézanne is considered one of the greatest artists of all time. Despite this, Cézanne remains somewhat unknown, somewhat misunderstood. Until now: this major new film, Cézanne – Portraits of a Life, reveals the true man.

Directed by award-winning writer and director Phil Grabsky and produced by EXHIBITION ON SCREEN, the film series dedicated to bringing world class art and artists to cinemas worldwide, Cézanne – Portraits of a Life is based on an exhibition of Cézanne portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, London, Musee d’Orsay, Paris, and National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.

Over his life Cézanne painted almost 1000 paintings, 200 of which were portraits. The exhibition, billed by art critics as ‘once in a lifetime’, brings together – for the first time since Cézanne’s death – fifty of these portraits from private and public collections all around the world. These portraits provide the backbone to the moving new cinematic film.

As well as offering an unprecedented level of insight into the exhibition, the film features interviews with curators, art experts and his great-grandson Philippe Cézanne. The film, shot in 4k, also travels to Cézanne’s home and studio in Provence and by including correspondence from the artist, it successfully sheds new light on the life and work of this hugely influential artist.

“The film operates with watchmaker-level precision”
The Guardian

“Rendered in detail on the big screen, stunning and beautiful”
Newport This Week


“Cézanne is really one of those artists who I’ve always wanted the opportunity to have a closer look at and with the National Portrait Gallery curating this extraordinary exhibition we thought it was the perfect opportunity. People know Cézanne for his landscapes and still lifes, so there’s something quite exciting about what is essentially the first ever exhibition dedicated to his portraits, and rightfully a major international success.

When I make a film about an artist like Cézanne, my first point of call is the correspondence: letters, contemporary biographies, autobiographies. With Cézanne, so much about him is revealed when you read his letters. I become endlessly curious. I want to know why it’s a masterpiece, what makes it a masterpiece, and then I want to know more about the social context, the historical context, why it was painted, and what was new about it.

So, I have all those questions, and the correspondence reveals quite a lot of answers. We strip away the myths and legends and start to see the real man – the passion, the humour, the knowledge, and the confidence.

The film is full of insight, anecdote and detail. Not only does it display evocative, cinematic shots, capturing the beautiful landscapes from the countryside of Aix-en-Provence to the streets of Paris, it’s accompanied by a carefully commissioned score which permeates the narrative.”


Working with the world’s leading international museums and galleries, EXHIBITION ON SCREEN creates films which offer a cinematic immersion into the world’s best loved art and artists, accompanied by insights from the world’s leading historians and arts critics. Since launching in 2011, EXHIBITION ON SCREEN has released 19 films which have been shown in 61 countries worldwide. It is, UK’s Guardian writes, ‘a global phenomenon’. For further information and details of screenings, visit exhibitiononscreen.com