Jed Perl in The New Republic:
“Cézanne & Pissarro: Pioneering Modern Painting,” at the Museum of Modern Art, is a mind-numbingly schematic exhibition. It may have been mounted on West 53rd Street, but it has none of the imaginative reach or scholarly originality or quickening lucidity that we used to expect from the Museum of Modern Art. It’s just another gimmicky blockbuster, roughly on the model of that previous one-from-column-A-and-one-from-column-B fiasco, “Matisse Picasso,” which came to the Modern in 2003. As with “Matisse Picasso,” so with “Cézanne & Pissarro,” a pair of extraordinarily rich and varied artists are forced into a meaningless face-off–a confrontation that tells us next to nothing about the artists and more than we ever wanted to know about the bookkeeper minds of curators who are fixated on the most superficial correspondences. (That “Cézanne & Pissarro” was organized by Joachim Pissarro, the artist’s great-grandson, is not a fact I care to linger over.)
Like “Matisse Picasso,” “Cézanne & Pissarro” is an impersonation of a Museum of Modern Art exhibition. This one even steals its subtitle from William Rubin’s 1989 triumph, “Picasso and Braque: Pioneering Cubism.” While that show zeroed in on a period of years when the two youthful Cubists were working hand-in-hand to create the language of abstract art, “Cézanne & Pissarro” insists on an apples-and-oranges juxtaposition of two painters who, although great friends and colleagues, were engaged in fundamentally different enterprises.