Lot 150
  • 150

PAUL CÉZANNE | Le Restaurant Mistral à l’Estaque

200,000 - 300,000 USD
225,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Paul Cézanne
  • Le Restaurant Mistral à l’Estaque
  • Gouache, watercolor and pencil on paper
  • 9 1/8 by 14 in.
  • 23 by 35.6 cm
  • Executed circa 1870.


Marthe Conil, Aix-en-Provence (the artist’s niece)
Private Collection, France
Galerie Cazeau-Béraudière, Paris
Acquired from the above on December 11, 2002


Georges Rivière, Le Maître Paul Cézanne, Paris, 1923, p. 206
John Rewald, Paul Cézanne, Correspondance, Paris, 1937, no. 13, illustrated n.p.
John Rewald, Paul Cézanne, New York, 1948, no. 35
Marthe Conil, “Quelques souvenirs sur Paul Cézanne par une de ses nièces,” in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, November 1960, no. 3, illustrated p. 302
John Rewald, Paul Cézanne, The Watercolors, A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1984, no. 21, illustrated pl. 21
Geneviève Blanc, L'Estaque, art et patrimoine, chronique d'une double histoire, Gémenos, 2013, n.n., illustrated p. 125 
Walter Feilchenfeldt, Jayne Warman & David Nash, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: An Online Catalogue Raisonné, www.cezannecatalogue.com, no. 1020 (accessed on February 15, 2018)

Catalogue Note

Cézanne spent the winter of 1870-71 out of the public eye in L’Estaque, avoiding the draft to fight in the Franco-Prussian War. The present view of this restaurant in the Bay of Marseille is an exceptionally rare example of his earliest forays into gouache and watercolor which he produced around this time (see fig. 1). These small-scale landscapes are remarkable for the insights they provide into Cézanne’s rejection of the traditional understanding of this medium.

Watercolors offered a more immediate and personal mode of expression than oil painting, although the medium was fraught with connotations of being academic, feminine and delicate. In contract to these expectations, Cézanne’s watercolors are intense, virile, unexpected and free. The opaque effect he achieves in the present work with dense dabs of red, green, yellow and white over a few diluted washes are highly characteristic. The artist's contemporary Fortuné Marion described the “Incredible colors and a strange effect that I thought watercolors were incapable of producing” (as quoted in Matthew Simms, Cézanne’s Watercolors, Between Drawing and Painting, New Haven, 2008, p. 33).

In Cézanne’s hand the pencil was not simply a judicious and controlled tool for providing the underdrawing for subsequent applications of wash; instead his lines are applied at multiple stages, including over the dried pigment, with an energy that breaks free of the associations of drawing as a guiding element for color. The zigzag strokes in the doors, windows and the lower right of the present landscape are typical of the unusual graphic energy which "animates the scene and infuses a sense of vitality" (ibid., p. 34).

The present lot was a gift from the artist to his niece, Marthe Conil, daughter of his sister Rose. Another of these small-scale gouaches he presented to the fiancée of his close friend Émile Zola, who visited him in L’Estaque that winter.