- Paul Cézanne
AMANDIERS EN PROVENCE (ALLÉE DU JAS DE BOUFFAN)
Watercolor and pencil on paper
- 23 by 18 3/4 in.
- 58.5 by 47.5 cm
Ambroise Vollard, Paris
Paul Cassirer, Amsterdam (1938)
Walter Feilchenfeldt, Zürich (acquired from the above)
Frank Perls, Beverly Hills (acquired from the above before August 1939)
Billy Wilder, Beverly Hills
Mr and Mrs Walter Bareiss, New York and Munich
John R. Gaines, Lexington, Kentucky
E. V. Thaw, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1983
London, Paul Cassirer, Ltd., Paul Cézanne Watercolours, 1939, no. 9 (titled Allée au Jas de Bouffan)
Stuttgart, Staatsgalerie and Munich, Neustaatsgalerie, Sammlung Walter Bareiss, 1965, fig. 5, illustrated in the catalogue
New York, Museum of Modern Art, 50 Selections from the Collection of Mr and Mrs Walter Bareiss, 1958, no. 10, illustrated in the catalogue
Kassel, Staatliche, Konstsammlungen Walter Bareiss, Handzeichnungen, Aquarelle und Collagen, 1967, no. 5, illustrated p. 15
New York, Museum of Modern Art and Houston, Museum of Fine Arts, Cézanne: The Late Work, 1977-78, no. 96, illustrated in the catalogue
Sydney, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Classic Cézanne, 1998, pl. 38, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Vienna, Kunstforum and Zurich, Kunsthaus, Cézanne: Finished – Unfinished, 2000, no. 141, illustrated in color in the catalogue
Ambroise Vollard archives, photograph no. 95
Lionello Venturi (revised), (as dating from 1895-1900)
Das Kunstwerk, November-December 1965, illustrated p. 63
Fritz Novotny, "Zur Aquarellemalerei Cézannes," Cézanne (exhibition catalogue), Tokyo, 1974
John Rewald, Paul Cézanne. The Watercolours: A Catalogue Raisonné, London, 1983, no. 512, catalogued p. 213; illustrated pl. I, illustrated in color p. 18
Dating from the last decade of Cézanne’s career, Amandiers en Provence demonstrates his mastery of the medium of watercolor and his delight in depicting the scenery of his native Provence. Having spent most of his life there, the artist never tired of depicting its surroundings, which provided a lifetime of motifs to paint. Following the legacy of the French Impressionists before him, Cézanne drew a constant source of inspiration from observing the effects of light on the landscape. He found the medium of watercolor particularly well suited for rendering the bright, sunlit atmosphere of the southern part of France, as its translucent quality allowed him to capture the nuances and effects of light on the Provencal scenery. With their ever changing coloration across seasons, trees held a particular interest for the artist, who depicted them frequently either as a subject in their own right, or providing a dynamic foreground for his renderings of the Mont Sainte-Victoire (see fig. 3).
While many of Cézanne’s landscapes from this period (see fig. 2) display a palette of green, blue and bright yellow tones, Amandiers en Provence is dominated by more autumnal hues of red, ochre and purple. The artist’s interpretation of nature was that of a succession of colors, which follow each other according to a law of harmony. In his own words, "Modelling results from the exact relationship of colours. When they are harmoniously juxtaposed and complete, the picture develops modelling of its own accord" (quoted in John House, Post-Impressionism: Cross Currents in European Painting (exhibition catalogue), London, 1979, p. 56). In the present work, the principal relationship is between the reddish-pink and purple tones, animated by dabs of green and yellow.
Discussing the present work, John Rewald wrote: "Every element is lightly traced with pencil and redrawn with short, blue brush lines. The colors are mainly green, pink, and blue with a few traces of ochre; they are applied in fairly large blotches, not yet superimposed or tied together. There is an almost Oriental flavour in this work, with its few, deft 'signs' floating freely on the large white sheet. The receding row of almond trees provides a sensation of space which is enhanced rather than diminished by the sparse touches in the distance that leave the rest of the paper unencumbered" (John Rewald, op. cit., p. 231). The line of trees which leads the viewer’s eye towards the centre of the composition presents a relatively rare use of spatial perspective, whereby depth is suggested by the diminishing scale of objects rather than by effects of colour that Cézanne explored throughout his oeuvre.
Birgit Schwarz described the technique of Cezanne's late watercolors: "A skeleton of fine pencil lines provides the framework for delicate patches of colour. These are concentrated around the contours of the objects and in sections of shadows, thinning out in the areas of transition to sunlit sections. Sometimes, the contour of an object is reworked with the brush. This reinforcement does not, however, result in a continuous line, since the numerous fragments of line merely suggest the contours rather than definitively establishing them. Within the pattern of colour patches extending over the entire sheet these lines appear as purposefully orientated units of colour, while the superimposition of the patches results in interpenetrating forms of diaphanous delicacy. In this way, Cézanne achieved a sense of space which, unlike that of central perspective, was not based on linear principles" (Birgit Schwarz, in Cézanne: Finished-Unfinished (exhibition catalogue), op. cit., p. 372).
Fig. 1, Trees in the vicinity of the caves above the Château Noir
Fig. 2, Paul Cézanne, Arbre tordu et citerne dans le parc de Château Noir, 1900-02, watercolor and pencil on paper, The Henry and Rose Pearlman Foundation
Fig. 3, Paul Cézanne, La Montagne Sainte-Victoire vue des Lauves, 1902-06, watercolor and pencil on paper, Tate Modern, London