The Barnes Foundation Discovers Two Sketches by Paul Cézanne

The Barnes Foundation Discovers Two Sketches by Paul Cézanne

Sketches Go on View to the Public April 10–May 18, 2015

Philadelphia PA, February 20, 2015 – During a recent paper conservation treatment, the Barnes Foundation discovered two unfinished sketches—one graphite and one watercolor— on the reverse sides of two watercolors by Cézanne, which depict the landscape of southern France: The Chaine de l'Etoile Mountains (BF650) and Trees (BF655), normally on view in room 20 of the Collection Gallery.

The discovery marks the first time these sketches have been seen since at least the early 20th century, most likely prior to Dr. Albert Barnes’s purchase of the works from Leo Stein in 1921.These sketches provide a glimpse behind Cezanne’s artistic process and their discovery highlights the importance of conservation efforts and dedicated collection stewardship.

To allow students and visitors the opportunity to view these sketches, they will be displayed in double-sided frames, with both sides visible, from April 10 through May 18, 2015 in the second floor classroom of the Barnes Foundation. Following their display to the public, the watercolors will be returned to their original locations.

It was not uncommon for Cezanne to work on both sides of the paper in his sketchbooks and on larger, individual sheets such as these, and over the course of his career he produced thousands of drawings, some of which were done in preparation for oil paintings, but most often they were a place to experiment with line and color. “These sketches offer a window into Cezanne’s artistic process, which is truly invaluable,” said Barbara Buckley, Senior Director of Conservation and Chief Conservator of Paintings at the Barnes Foundation. “It is with great excitement that we share this discovery with our students and visitors. Our new facilities on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway allow us to do much more comprehensive conservation than ever before and we know there are many more discoveries within the Barnes Collection waiting to be unearthed. We look forward to bringing them to light over the coming months and years.”

“Barnes bought The Chaine de l'Etoile Mountains (BF650) and Trees (BF655) from Leo Stein, the American collector who, along with his sister, Gertrude, had assembled one of the world’s most important collections of modern European art,” said Martha Lucy, Assistant Professor at Drexel University and Consulting Curator at the Barnes Foundation. “What Barnes probably didn’t know was that in purchasing these two watercolors from Stein, he had actually acquired four works by Cézanne.”

The conservation project was overseen by Barbara Buckley, Senior Director of Conservation and Chief Conservator of Paintings at the Barnes Foundation, the treatments were performed by paper conservators at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) in Philadelphia, and funded as part of a conservation grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). 

The Barnes Foundation’s collection holds 365 works on paper comprised of primarily American and European works from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century, including watercolors, gouache, pastels, ink, graphite and charcoal drawings. The IMLS Museums for America Program grant that funded the discovery of these new sketches, provided for the conservation treatment of 22 watercolors and pastels on paper including five works by Paul Cézanne, five by Pablo Picasso, nine by Paul Klee, two by Edgar Degas, and one by Pierre-Auguste Renoir. The conservation included mending tears, stabilizing supports, rehousing the works with archival quality materials, and providing ultraviolet-light filtering protection. This is the second grant the Barnes Foundation has received from the IMLS to support the conservation treatment and rehousing of its works of art on paper. 

The Barnes Foundation ( was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” The Barnes holds one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with extensive works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, and Giorgio de Chirico; American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin and Maurice Prendergast; old master paintings; important examples of African sculpture; Native American ceramics, jewelry and textiles; American paintings and decorative arts; and antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia. The Barnes Foundation’s Art and Aesthetics programs engage diverse audiences. These programs, held at the Philadelphia campus, online, and in Philadelphia communities, advance the mission through progressive, experimental, and interdisciplinary teaching and learning.
The Barnes Arboretum, at the Merion campus, contains more than 2,000 varieties of trees and woody plants, many of them rare. Founded in the 1880s by Joseph Lapsley Wilson and expanded under the direction of Mrs. Laura L. Barnes, the collection includes a fern-leaf beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Laciniata’), a dove tree (Davidia involucrata), a monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana), and a redwood (Sequoia sempervirens). Other important plant collections include lilacs, peonies, Stewartias and magnolias. The Horticulture school at the Barnes Foundation in Merion has offered a comprehensive three-year certificate course in the botanical sciences, horticulture, garden aesthetics, and design since its establishment in 1940 by Mrs. Barnes.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow IMLS on Facebook and Twitter.

The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts has grown to be one of the largest nonprofit conservation centers in the country. Its wide array of services, sophisticated treatment facilities, innovative approaches, and highly trained and experienced staff have earned it a prominent and respected place in the conservation field. Our mission is to provide expertise and leadership in the preservation of the world's cultural heritage. 
CCAHA specializes in the treatment of works of art and artifacts on paper, such as drawings, prints, maps, posters, historic wallpaper, photographs, rare books, scrapbooks, and manuscripts, as well as related materials such as parchment and papyrus. CCAHA also offers on-site consultation services, educational programs and seminars, internships, and emergency conservation services.


Jan Rothschild, Senior Vice President for Communications
Deirdre Maher, Director of Communications
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This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. [Grant # MA-30-13-0599-13]


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