• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1148

    Impressionist and Modern Art (Day Sale) and Impressionist

    7 November 2002, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 106

    Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)

    Sous-bois aux grands troncs (recto); Lisière de fôret (verso)

    Price Realised  


    Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
    Sous-bois aux grands troncs (recto); Lisière de fôret (verso)
    watercolor and pencil on paper
    17 7/8 x 23 3/8 in. (45.5 x 59.5 cm.)
    Painted in 1892-1894

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    John Rewald (op. cit.) raises the possibility that both sides of this watercolor depict the forest around Fontainebleau, a town southeast of Paris. This rugged and densely wooded landscape was the chief locale of the Barbizon school of plein-air painting from the 1830s onward and was frequented by the Impressionists as well. Cézanne first painted there in the late 1860s during one of his stays in Paris and made periodic visits in later decades. The Fontainebleau locale is usually very recognizable in his oil paintings, where the heavy trees, dense underbrush and rocky floor nearly eliminate the blue skies familiar in his Midi landscapes. The watercolors done in this vicinity, on the other hand, by virtue of the lighter, more transparent medium that the artist employs, have an airier look, and are not so easy to identify. The setting allowed the artist to create a cascading wall of color, which, together with the absence of a single, central motif, lends the composition an "all-over" look that appeals strongly to modern tastes.

    When this watercolor was exhibited at Galerie Druet, Paris in 1920, the American critic H.L. van Doren wrote:

    Among these was a wood-interior which seemed to reach the very consummation of his development in this medium. It combined the utmost economy of means with the very profoundest knowledge-- spontaneous overflow of emotion, expressed as it would only be possible to express it after years of rigorous intellectual discipline. Over a slight fabric of pencil lines were laid pure, free washes of color, juxtaposed or overlapping, defining the broad masses of foliage in the simplest manner. It was a lyric of the soundest sort, a deliberate frenzy, if I may hazard the paradox. It is too sanguine to hope that it will be purchased for a public museum, where it could be enjoyed by those who have eyes to see.
    (Quoted in J. Rewald, op. cit.)


    Paul Cézanne fils, Paris.
    Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris.
    Herbert Kullmann, Manchester; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, 16 May 1914, lot 3 (titled L'allée; dated circa 1902).
    Galerie Druet, Paris.
    Charles Kuntz, Paris.
    John Paul Kuntz, New York (by descent from the above); sale, Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, 27 May 1976, lot 212.
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.


    G. Rivière, La Maître Paul Cézanne, Paris, 1923, p. 220 (titled Sous bois).
    L. Venturi, Cézanne, son art--son oeuvre, Paris, 1936, vol. I, p. 265, no. 1005 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 299; dated 1895-1900).
    J. Rewald, Paul Cézanne, The Watercolors, A Catalogue Raisonné, Boston, 1983, pp. 197-198, nos. 451 and 453 (illustrated).


    (possibly) Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune & Cie, and Berlin, Paul Cassirer, Les Aquarelles de Cézanne, June 1907, nos. 9 and 6 (titled Sous bois and Paysage).
    (possibly) Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune & Cie, Aquarelles et pastels, May 1909, no. 14 (titled L'allée).
    (possibly) Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune & Cie, Exposition Cézanne, January 1910, no. 62 (titled L'allée).
    Paris, Galerie Druet, Cézanne Drawings and Watercolors, 1920.
    New York, Acquavella Galleries, Inc., Cézanne Watercolors, October-November 1999, pp. 46 and 123 (illustrated in color, p. 47, pl. 9).