modernist games: cezanne and his card players


Saturday 15 January 2011

14.00 - 18.00, Kenneth Clark Lecture Theatre (with registration from 13.30)

The Courtauld Institute of Art

two men wearing hats sit at a table playing cards
Paul Cézanne, The Card Players (ca.1893-96).Oil on canvas. © The Samuel Courtauld Trust, The Courtauld Gallery, London

Speaker(s): T.J. Clark (University of California, Berkeley), Charlotte De Mille (The Courtauld Institute of Art), Andre Dombrowski (University of Pennsylvania), Nancy Ireson (co-curator of Cézanne’s Card Players, The Courtauld Gallery), Margaret Iversen (University of Essex), Satish Padiyar (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Ticket/entry details: £15 (£10 Courtauld staff/students and external students) Please send a cheque made payable to ‘Courtauld Institute of Art’ to: Research Forum Events Co-ordinator, Research Forum, The Courtauld Institute of Art , Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 0RN, clearly stating that you wish to book for the ‘Modernist Games: Cezanne’ conference. For credit card bookings call 020 7848 2785. For further information, send an email to

Organised by: Dr Satish Padiyar (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

To coincide with the exhibition Cézanne’s Card Players, organised by The Courtauld Gallery in London and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Modernist Games brings together six speakers to reflect on the theme of chance and game playing in the work of Cézanne. Cézanne’s intense paintings of peasants and groups of card players in the early to mid 1890s comprised a project comparable in ambition to the large bather compositions of his next and final decade. This uncharacteristic moment in Cezanne’s serious practice as a monumentalising artist opens out a set of questions for the modern and the contemporary: What is at stake in the performance of chance? What is the relation between the ludic, the serious and the sacred? How do we, as participating viewers of the modernist image of play, experience the tension of the game, its ethics, its erotics, and its unpredictable risks?

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