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Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
Property from the Collection of Herbert and Adele Klapper
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)

Vue d’Auvers-sur-Oise—La Barrière

Details
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
Vue d’Auvers-sur-Oise—La Barrière
signed ‘P Cezanne’ (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 x 14 7/8 in. (45.8 x 37.7 cm.)
Painted circa 1873
Provenance
Victor Chocquet, Paris (probably acquired from the artist).
Marie Buisson Chocquet, Paris (by descent from the above, 1891); Estate sale, Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 4 July 1899, lot 16.
Josse and Gaston Bernheim-Jeune, Paris (acquired at the above sale, and until at least 1938).
Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ittleson, Jr., New York (by 1958 and until at least 1970).
Sam Salz, Inc., New York.
Mr. and Mrs. Nathan L. Halpern, New York (acquired from the above, by 1986).
Private collection, New York (by descent from the above); sale, Christie’s, New York, 3 November 2004, lot 16.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owner.
Literature
G. Rivière, Le Maître Paul Cézanne, Paris, 1923, p. 217 (titled La Barrière (Chantilly) and dated 1888).
L. Venturi, Cézanne: Son artson œuvre, Paris, 1936, vol. I, p. 99, no. 149 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 39; titled Vue d'Auvers; La Barrière and dated 1873-1875).
F. Novotny, Cézanne und das Ende der wissenschaftlichen Perspektive, Vienna, 1938, p. 208, no. 130 (titled Häusergruppe vor der Bahnstrecke südlich von Auvers and dated 1873-1874).
G. Bernheim de Villers, Un ami de Cézanne, Paris, 1954 (illustrated; titled Le Printemps).
J. Rewald, “Chocquet and Cézanne” in Gazette des Beaux-Arts, July-August 1969, p. 83, no. 16, reproduced in J. Rewald, Studies in Impressionism, London, 1985, pp. 121-187.
S. Orienti, The Complete Paintings of Cézanne, London, 1972, p. 92, no. 154 (illustrated, p. 93; titled View of Auvers, with Paling).
J. Rewald, Cézanne: A Biography, New York, 1986, pp. 99 and 274 (illustrated in color, p. 98).
S. Patin, Cézanne, Paris, 1995, p. 41 (illustrated; dated 1873-1875).
J. Rewald, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1996, vol. I, p. 151, no. 200 (illustrated, vol. II, p. 67).
M. Doran, ed., Conversations with Cézanne, Berkeley, 2001, p. 35.
S. Platzman, Cézanne: The Self-Portraits, Berkeley, 2001, p. 75 (illustrated).
A. Mothe, et al., Cézanne à Auvers-sur-Oise, Saint-Ouen-L'Aumône, 2006, p. 107 (illustrated).
P. Machotka, Cézanne: The Eye and the Mind, Marseille, 2008, vol. II, p. 82 (illustrated, vol. I, fig. 94).
W. Feilchenfeldt, J. Warman and D. Nash, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: An Online Catalogue Raisonné, no. 80 (illustrated in color).
Exhibited
Glasgow, McLellan Gallery, French Painting in the XIXth Century, May 1934, no. 11 (titled Le Printemps).
London, The Lefevre Gallery (Alex. Reid & Lefevre Ltd.), Renoir, Cézanne and Their Contemporaries, June 1934, no. 7 (titled Le Printemps).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition, summer 1958, p. 2, no. 23 (titled Springtime: View of Auvers).
Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art, Masterpieces of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Painting, April-May 1959, p. 27 (illustrated; dated 1873-1875 and titled Le Printemps).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition, July-September 1959, p. 2, no. 13 (titled Springtime: View of Auvers).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition, July-September 1960, p. 2, no. 15 (titled Springtime: View of Auvers).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum-of Art, Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition, June-August 1961, p. 2, no. 11 (titled Springtime: View of Auvers).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition, July-September 1962, p. 2, no. 8 (titled Springtime: View of Auvers).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Paintings from Private Collections: Summer Loan Exhibition, summer 1963, p. 1, no. 8 (titled Springtime: View of Auvers).
Washington, D.C., The National Gallery of Art, Cézanne: The Early Years, 1859-1872, January-April 1989.

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Max Carter
Max Carter

Lot Essay

In summer 1872, Cézanne settled with his mistress Hortense Fiquet and their infant son Paul in the rural hamlet of Auvers, on the banks of the Oise River. Although Corot and Daubigny had earlier been attracted to the riverside village for its bucolic charms, the principal lure of Auvers for Cézanne was the proximity of Pissarro, whom he had met a decade earlier at the Académie Suisse. For the next year and a half, Cézanne walked an hour to Pontoise most days to paint en plein air alongside Pissarro; when the weather was poor, they worked together in the studio of Dr. Paul Gachet at Auvers. “So began an extended artistic dialogue,” Alex Danchev has written, “one of the richest of modern times, whereby Cézanne and Pissarro went out into the countryside around Pontoise, selected a motif, painted it, and compared the results, or, more to the point, the process” (Cézanne, A Life, New York, 2012, p. 194).
In concert with Pissarro, Cézanne undertook a campaign of sustained experimentation and self-examination, which ushered in a vital new chapter in his art. Abandoning the moody tonalities and rough, impetuous handling of his earlier work, he quickly mastered Pissarro’s Impressionist technique, which consisted of short, disciplined brushstrokes, a brightened palette, and small patches of pure color standing in for traditional modeling. Mythological themes and fiery romanticism gave way to a harmonious, naturalistic vision anchored in the direct observation of the external world. “Our Cézanne gives us hope,” Pissarro wrote proudly to the painter Antoine Guillemet in September 1872. “If, as I hope, he stays some time in Auvers, he will astonish quite a few artists who were all too quick to condemn him” (quoted in B.E. White, Impressionists Side By Side, New York, 1996, p. 117).
The present painting bears witness to this decisive phase in Cézanne’s development. John Rewald has identified the motif as a group of farmhouses just south of Auvers, here shown clustered amidst encompassing greenery; the lush foliage and bright, variegated palette point to a date in late spring or summer. Working from an elevated vantage point, Cézanne rendered the landscape in a measured succession of planes that lead into depth, from the low, stone wall in the foreground to the gently sloping hillside that closes off the scene. Stands of tall trees at either side frame the central prospect, their slender trunks echoed in the vertical fence posts and repeated upright accents of walls and chimneys. Cézanne made a wide, panoramic vista of the same site (Rewald, no. 199), most likely before he painted the present, closer view. Here, he selected a vertical format, unexpected for a landscape subject, which yielded a more forcefully concentrated composition.
Although Cézanne and Pissarro shared the conviction that the art of painting entailed finding equivalents in material color for visual sensations, rather than slavishly copying nature, already at Auvers there were signs that Cézanne would follow his own course in pursuing this aim. “Though sustained by Pissarro’s example and tutelage,” Mary Tompkins Lewis has noted, “Cézanne’s sensibility would be utterly different” (Cézanne, London, 2000, p. 103). Cézanne’s landscapes, unlike Pissarro’s, include scant scenic detail and only the very occasional figure; his principal interest was the abstract geometry underlying the natural world. In the present canvas, he emphasized the blocky, cubic forms of the village architecture and the rectilinear framing of the scene. Compared with Pissarro’s work from this period, Cézanne’s colors are more intense, his contrasts more pronounced, and his brushstrokes bigger and broader, heightening the raw physical power of the scene.
By the time Cézanne painted this profoundly forward-looking canvas, preparations were well underway for the First Impressionist Exhibition, a watershed in the history of modern painting. One of the driving forces behind the event, Pissarro advocated tirelessly for Cézanne’s participation, countering objections from the collective that the younger painter was too wayward and bound to attract the wrong kind of attention. In the end, Pissarro prevailed. Cézanne left Auvers for Paris early in 1874 and made his public debut with the Impressionists in April. Although his work elicited harsh criticism in the press, it attracted the attention of Count Armand Doria, who purchased the artist’s Auvers masterpiece, La maison du pendu—the first canvas that he had ever sold to a collector outside his immediate circle (Rewald, no. 202). Cézanne emerged from the experience with a sense of conviction and optimism that was utterly unprecedented in his career.
“I am beginning to consider myself stronger than all those around me,” he wrote to his mother, “and you know that the good opinion I have of myself has only been reached after serious consideration. The hour always comes when one breaks through and has admirers far more fervent and convinced than those who are only attracted by an empty surface” (Cézanne quoted in ibid., p. 116).
Almost immediately after the First Impressionist Exhibition closed on 15 May, Cézanne left Paris for his native Provence, seeking solitude and an escape from domestic life. He returned to the haven of the Jas de Bouffan, his parents’ estate near Aix; Hortense and Paul, whose very existence the artist anxiously kept secret from his domineering father, stayed behind in the capital. Cézanne repeatedly tried to tempt Pissarro to come south as well, but to no avail. The two painters worked together for short stints at Pontoise during the late 1870s and early 1880s, but they never recaptured the full-blown intensity of their earlier artistic partnership.
Along with Pissarro, another key figure in Cézanne’s small circle of intimates during the 1870s was Victor Chocquet, the first owner of Vue d’Auvers-sur-OiseLa Barrière. A customs clerk with modest means but an abiding passion for art, Chocquet discovered the Impressionists in March 1875 and quickly became an irrepressible champion of their work. He purchased his first Cézanne from père Tanguy that autumn and finagled an introduction to the reticent artist soon after; by early 1877, the two men had grown close enough for Cézanne to seek Chocquet’s advice in selecting his contributions for the Third Impressionist Exhibition. Chocquet may well have acquired the present canvas directly from the artist, very likely within a few years of its creation; it remained in his collection until his death.

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