384
384

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION

Paul Cézanne
PAYSAGE PROVENÇAL (ROCHERS À L'ESTAQUE)
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384

PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION

Paul Cézanne
PAYSAGE PROVENÇAL (ROCHERS À L'ESTAQUE)
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

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Paul Cézanne
1839 - 1906
PAYSAGE PROVENÇAL (ROCHERS À L'ESTAQUE)
oil on canvas
65 by 81.1cm., 25 1/2 by 31 7/8 in.
Painted circa 1870.
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This work is included in The Paintings of Paul Cézanne, an online catalogue raisonné, www.cezannecatalogue.com, by Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jayne Warman & David Nash, under no. 52.

Provenance

Galerie Ambroise Vollard, Paris
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (acquired in 1910)
Collection Auguste Pellerin, Paris (acquired in December 1910)
M. & Mme René Lecomte, Paris (by descent from the above)
Private Collection (by descent from the above; sale: Christie's, London, 5th February 2008, lot 268)
Harper & Richarts, Zurich
Acquired from the above by the present owner in September 2012

Exhibited

Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, Hommage à Paul Cézanne, 1954, no. 15
Vienna, Albertina Museum, Impressionismus, Wie das Licht auf die Leinwand kam, 2009-10

Literature

Élie Faure, Cézanne, Paris, 1936, illustrated pl. 18
Maurice Raynal, Cézanne, Paris, 1936, p. 60, illustrated pl. XXXI
Lionello Venturi, Cézanne, Son art - son œuvre, Paris, 1936 & 1989, no. 54; illustrated vol. II, pl. 12 (dated 1867-70)
Raymond Cogniat, Cézanne, Paris, 1939, illustrated pl. 6
John Rewald, 'Paul Cézanne: New Documents for the Years 1870-71' in Burlington Magazine, London, April 1939, vol. LXXIV, no. 433, illustrated pl. II, fig. A
Douglas Cooper, 'Cézanne's Chronology' in Burlington Magazine, London, December 1956, vol. XCVIII, p. 449 (dated 1869-70)
Meyer Schapiro, Paul Cézanne, Paris, 1973, illustrated p. 6
Sandra Orienti, Tout l'œuvre peint de Cézanne, Paris, 1975, no. 107, illustrated p. 90
Cézanne: The Early Years, 1859-1872 (exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1998, p. 166
John Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue raisonné, London, 1996, vol. I, no. 133; illustrated vol. II, p. 45

Catalogue Note

Painted circa 1870 Paysage Provençal is a rare and significant example of Cézanne’s early landscape painting. In 1865, in Cézanne’s first known letter to Camille Pissarro, the painter from Aix announced his plans to present canvases at the Salon that will 'make the Institute red with rage and despair.' He signed off with the playful challenge: 'I hope that you will have painted some beautiful landscapes' (quoted in Paul Cézanne, Correspondance, Paris, 1978, pp. 112-13, translated from the French). The word “beautiful” (beau) is precisely chosen: the two young artists aimed to reclaim and redefine the term, reversing traditional notions of aesthetic beauty. “Beau,” in their parlance, meant capable of shocking the establishment, and consequently the “beauty” of a painting was judged according to its audacity.

The present work certainly fulfils these criteria. The darkly subtle palette and mingling of rocks and foliage recall the landscapes of Gustave Courbet as well as those of the Barbizon School painters such as Camille Corot or Théodore Rousseau. However, Cézanne’s bold handling of paint and the rich texture of the pigment surface reveal his striving towards an entirely new pictorial language, one which, as it developed throughout his career, was to profoundly influence the direction of twentieth century painting. Thick layers of paint are applied, highlighting the physical materiality of the picture and drawing attention to the process of its construction. Thus Cézanne implicates the viewer in his artistic process and uses the canvas to reveal his working methods. Lawrence Gowling wrote the following about this stage in Cézanne's career: 'Cézanne was the first man [among the Impressionists], perhaps the first man in history, to realize the necessity for the manner in which paint is handled to build up a homogenous and consistent pictorial structure. This is the invention of forme in the French modernist sense—meaning the condition of paint that constitutes a pictorial structure. It is the discovery of an intrinsic structure inherent in the medium and the material' (Cézanne, The Early Years (exhibition catalogue), Royal Academy of Arts, London; Musée d'Orsay, Paris & The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1988-89, p. 10).

Living in Paris, the artist often returned to his native Aix-en-Provence to find inspiration in the surrounding countryside. The rocky hillside and shady forests were ideal subject matter for his experiments with painting en plein air as recommended by Pissarro. Cézanne was delighted with the results of this new technique and wrote to his friend Emile Zola: 'But you know all pictures painted inside, in the studio, will never be as good as those painted outside. When outdoor scenes are represented…the landscape is magnificent. I see some superb things, and I must resolve to paint only outdoors' (letter from Cézanne to Zola, 19th October 1866). The fruits of this decision can certainly be seen in this densely verdant composition. Indeed Cézanne’s fascination with the wildly dramatic scenery of Provence would prove to be a defining feature of his art throughout his career, lending his paintings a personal poignancy even as they transcend genres and generations.

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