Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
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Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)

La Montagne Sainte-Victoire

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
La Montagne Sainte-Victoire
watercolor and pencil on paper
12 7/8 x 19 ¾ in. (32.6 x 50.1 cm.)
Executed circa 1900
Estate of the artist.
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris (1907).
Montross Gallery, New York (April 1916).
Lillie P. Bliss, New York (acquired from the above, 1916).
The Museum of Modern Art, New York (bequest from the above); sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, 11 May 1944, lot 65.
Lola and Siegfried Kramarsky, New York (by 1952).
Private collection, New York (by descent from the above, circa 1961).
By descent from the above to the present owners.
A.H. Barr, Jr., ed., The Lillie P. Bliss Collection, New York, 1934, p. 35, no. 17 (illustrated; dated 1897-1900).
L. Venturi, Cézanne: Son art, son oeuvre, Paris, 1936, vol. I, p. 266, no. 1018 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 301; dated 1900-1906).
A.H. Barr, Jr., ed., Painting and Sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1942, p. 30, no. 101.
A.H. Barr, Jr., ed., Painting and Sculpture in the Museum of Modern Art, 1929-1967, New York, 1977, p. 651.
J. Rewald, Paul Cézanne: The Watercolors, A Catalogue Raisonné, London, 1983, p. 209, no. 499 (illustrated).
G.S. Keyes, "Reconsideration of Late Variants of Cézanne's 'Theme of Mont Sainte-Victoire,'" Bulletin of the Detroit Institute of Arts, vol. 77, no. 1, 2003, p. 36 (illustrated, fig. 6).
W. Feilchenfeldt, J. Warman and D. Nash, The Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings of Paul Cézanne: An Online Catalogue Raisonné, (, no. FWN 1444 (illustrated in color).
Rome, Rome, Succession, II. Internationale, Seconda esposizione internationale d'arte della 'Secessione," February-June 1914, no. 24 (titled Alberi in montagna).
New York, Montross Gallery, Cézanne, January 1916, no. 12 (titled Trees on the Mountain).
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Paintings and Drawings by Representative Modern Masters, April-May 1920, p. 9, no. 55 (titled Trees on a Mountain).
Brooklyn Academy of Arts and Sciences, Summer Exhibition of Modern French and American Painters, June-October 1926.
New York, The Museum of Modern Art; Andover, Massachusetts, Addison Gallery of American Art, Phillips Academy and Indianapolis, John Herron Art Institute, Memorial Exhibition: The Collection of the Late Miss Lillie P. Bliss, May 1931-January 1932, no. 20 (titled Trees on a Mountainside).
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, The Lillie P. Bliss Collection, May-September 1934, p. 35, no. 17 (illustrated; dated circa 1897-1900).
The Arts Club of Chicago, Watercolors and Drawings from the Lillie P. Bliss Collection, May-June 1935, no. 3.
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Art Institute, Paintings, Drawings and Watercolors from the Lillie P. Bliss Collection, March-April 1935, no. 30.
The Art Institute of Chicago and New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cézanne: Paintings, Watercolors & Drawings, February-May 1952, p. 91, no. 114 (dated circa 1900-1906).
Gemeentemuseum den Haag, Paul Cézanne, June-July 1956, no. 87 (dated 1900-1906).
Aix-en-Provence, Pavillon de Vendôme, Exposition pour commémorer le cinquantenaire de la mort de Cézanne, July-August 1956, no. 79 (illustrated).
Kunsthaus Zürich, Paul Cézanne, August-October 1956, p. 35, no. 138 (dated 1900-1906).
New York, Wildenstein & Co. Inc., Cézanne, November-December 1959, no. 82 (illustrated; dated 1900-1906).
New York, M. Knoedler & Co., Inc., Cézanne Watercolors, April 1963, p. 50, no. 52 (illustrated, pl. LI; dated 1897-1900).
Pasadena Art Museum, Cézanne Watercolors, November-December 1967, p. 59, no. 30 (illustrated, p. 47; dated circa 1897-1900).

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Allegra Bettini
Allegra Bettini

Lot Essay

The commanding presence of Mont Sainte-Victoire, jutting high above the plain to the east of Aix, Cézanne’s ancestral home, is the most prominent regional feature of the Provençal landscape. The rugged ridge line of this mountain’s looming slopes became an idée fixe in Cézanne’s creative imagination, a compelling motif to which he returned time and again throughout his career. The present watercolor is part of the last—and arguably the most important—series of landscapes Cézanne painted of this seminal subject.
“Cézanne was particularly absorbed by the Montagne Sainte-Victoire and the countryside over which it presides in the last few years of his life, and he depicted it with intensity and immediacy,” Philip Conisbee has written. “It concerned Cézanne’s identity, of course: he felt himself to be this pays d’Aix, that mountain. But it was also a matter of life and death: that is to say, the triumph of life over death, through an art powerful in its engagement with nature–a particular nature surveyed to its fullest advantage from the hill at Les Lauves–and an art dense in matter, rich in chiaroscuro, vibrant in color, passionate in feeling, and which endures in Cézanne’s signature motif" (Cézanne in Provence, exh. cat., National Gallery of Art Washington, D.C., 2006, pp. 289-290).
John Rewald has suggested that the present work is related to an oil painting of the same subject, Mont Sainte-Victoire, from circa 1897 (Venturi, no. 764), now located in the Detroit Institute of Arts. In his critical survey of the watercolors, Rewald explained, “What contributes to this different mood is that for the painting Cézanne had adopted a vertical format, whereas in this watercolor the more 'congenial' horizontal composition allows the motif to breathe more freely…The motif seems to have been painted from the vicinity of the terrace of Château Noir. Pale washes, predominantly blue and green, are applied over a very light pencil sketch. The outlines of the mountain, however, have been redrawn several times with the pencil and then delicately retraced with a thin blue brush line” (op. cit.).

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