Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 1… Read more Property from the Auguste Pellerin Family
Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)

Paysage provençal, or Rochers à L'Estaque, or Masures sous la neige

Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
Paysage provençal, or Rochers à L'Estaque, or Masures sous la neige
oil on canvas
23 x 30 in. (59 x 78 cm.)
Painted circa 1870
Galerie Ambroise Vollard, Paris.
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune, Paris.
The Auguste Pellerin Collection, Paris, and thence by descent to the present owner.
E. Faure, Cézanne, Paris, 1936 (illustrated pl. 18).
M. Raynal, Cézanne, Paris, 1936, p. 60 (illustrated pl. XXXI).
L. Venturi, Cézanne, Son art - son oeuvre, vol. I, Paris, 1936, no. 54, p. 78 (illustrated vol. II, pl. 12; dated 1867-70).
R. Cogniat, Cézanne, Paris, 1939, p. 33 (illustrated pl. 6).
J. Rewald, 'Paul Cézanne: New Documents for the Years 1870-71', in Burlington Magazine, no. 433, vol. LXXIV, London, April 1939, p. 169 (illustrated pl. II, fig. A).
D. Cooper, 'Cézanne's Chronology', in Burlington Magazine, vol. XCVIII, London, December 1956, p. 449 (dated 1869-1870).
M. Schapiro, Paul Cézanne, Paris, 1973, p. 6 (illustrated).
S. Orienti, The Complete Paintings of Cézanne, New York, 1976, p. 91, no. 107 (illustrated p. 90).
L. Gowing, exh. cat. Cézanne: The Early Years, 1859-1872, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1998, p. 166.
J. Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné, vol. I, London, 1996, no. 133 (illustrated vol. II, p. 45).
Paris, Musée de l'Orangerie, Hommage à Paul Cézanne, July - September 1954, no. 15, p. 7.
Special notice
VAT rate of 5% is payable on hammer price and at 15% on the buyer's premium

Lot Essay

Paysage provençal has been dated both by Venturi, in his revised chronology, and by Rewald to circa 1870 and, given its steep landscape and snow-covered motif, must have been painted during the bleak winter months Cézanne spent in the small fishing village of L'Estaque, on the Mediterranean coast just west of Marseille. Cézanne had fled Paris at the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, seeking refuge with his lover Hortense Fiquet, whom he had only recently met, a relationship of which Cézanne's domineering father was not aware. During this period of relative seclusion and emotional and political instability, the artist produced 'landscapes of dramatic moods and contrasts, still lifes of serene equilibrium and of boldness, portraits of fascinating penetration and impetuous expression, as well as imaginary scenes of vibrant intensity and unconcealed eroticism' (J. Rewald, intro. to exh. cat. Cézanne: The Early Years 1859-1872, London, 1988, p. 3).

Paysage provençal is one of the artist's earliest larger scale landscapes and can be seen as an integral work in the artist's development during these formative years. The limited tonal range and pronounced use of palette knife in the present work place Cézanne as the natural successor to Courbet while the contrasting diagonals presage the geometric analysis and the physical substance of his subjects which would later occupy him to so great an extent.

Cézanne spent many extended periods in L'Estaque throughout his career. It provided him with both a familiar refuge and striking motifs of a spectacular, mountainous terrain which Emile Zola described in one of his short stories, Nais Micoulin: 'Nothing equals the wild majesty of these gorges hollowed out between the hills, narrow paths twisting at the bottom of an abyss, arid slopes covered with pines and with walls the colour of rust and blood.'

In the mid-1880s, Cézanne would paint some of his most harmonious and pleasing landscapes at L'Estaque, lauding the dazzling Mediterranean light which reduced the forms he painted there to 'silhouettes' of brilliant contrasts. But in the midst of the turmoil of 1870-1871, Cézanne's views of L'Estaque occupied a distinctly different sphere. Only a few landscapes have survived from that cold winter and spring on the Mediterranean; all of them are ominous and dark. As Lawrence Gowing has written: 'Cézanne's work found shadow while other painters, his Paris friends, sought light. Its emotional expression was often grievous... Love in it was inseparable from violence. Its caprice was ungoverned and its reason eccentric. Its portrayal of his world can now be recognised as often brilliant and seemingly haunted by a spirit that is unexplained… Its stillness built a solidity into paint as no painting before had ever been built, as if paint could be as monumental as masonry' (ibid., p. 5).

More from Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale

View All
View All