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Series 11: 3. Cezanne and Pissarro



Fiona Bruce and Philip Mould head to France on the trail of two of the greatest Impressionist and post-Impressionist artists, Camille Pissarro and his friend and protege, Paul Cezanne.\n\nFiona travels to the stunning Provencal landscape on the trail of a simple watercolour, owned by Dominique Rogers. She is the great- great-niece of Anthony Valabregue, a poet, art critic and great personal friend of Cezanne who painted him several times. Dominique – who doesn’t admire Cezanne’s artistic style – believes the painting was a direct gift from Cezanne, passed on by Valabregue’s widow to her father in the 1920s.\n\nFiona visits Cezanne’s studio in his hometown of Aix-en-Provence and strolls in the nearby quarries in the shadow of Mont Sainte-Victoire, where the rich ochre-coloured boulders and spindly trees so influenced the artist’s work. Could this be where Dominique’s tree was painted?\n\nInvestigation into the paper and palette will prove crucial to establish the provenance, particularly after Fiona learns that Cezanne wasn’t copied in his lifetime. But what if an admirer or, even worse, a faker, meticulously copied it after his death? \n\nMeanwhile Philip travels to northern France, to the town of Pontoise where Pissarro set up home with his large family and was often joined by other artists, including Cezanne. Pissarro had grown to love painting rural landscapes and the hard-working country folk tilling the soil.\n\nZana Glaser inherited a drawing of cabbage sellers from her father Tom, a keen art buyer and collector. It was accepted that the outline of the drawing and signature were by Pissarro, but when Tom tried to sell the drawing at auction in 2012, it was rejected by the Pissarro committee who felt it had been coloured by another hand.\n\nZana turns to the Fake or Fortune team for help. Can science prove that the outline and colouring were done at the same time? Or was the colouring done by someone wanting to enhance the appeal and value of the drawing – perhaps even by a member of Pissarro’s own family, many of whom became artists?\n \nIf the Pissarro is right, it may be worth as much as £50,000, if not – despite the outline being done by the great artist – its value is probably no more than £1,000. And if the Cezanne is proved to be by the artist, it could be worth a massive £100,000, as the artist’s work has never been more popular. If not, it’s worth virtually nothing. Can the team gather enough evidence to persuade the relevant authorities?

Source: BBC 1

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