Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
2 More
Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)


Paul Cézanne (1839-1906)
watercolor and pencil on paper
16 ¼ x 19 ½ in. (41.5 x 49.3 cm.)
Executed in 1887-1890
Ambroise Vollard, Paris.
Dr. Simon Meller, Budapest, Paris and Munich.
Paul Cassirer, Amsterdam, by whom acquired from the above in 1936.
F.W. Koenigs, Haarlem, by whom acquired from the above in September 1938, by descent to his daughter Nela van Eyck-Koenigs (1920-1993), and by descent in the family to the present owners.
L. Venturi, Cézanne: son artson oeuvre, Paris, 1936, vol. I, no. 1616, p. 344 (illustrated, vol. II, pl. 404; dated 1890-1900).
J. Rewald, Paul Cézanne: The Watercolours, A Catalogue Raisonné, Boston, 1983, p. 159, no. 305 (illustrated).
W. Feilchenfeldt, J. Warman and D. Nash, The Paintings, Watercolors and Drawings of Paul Cézanne: An Online Catalogue Raisonné (, no. 1230 (illustrated in color).
Amsterdam, Paul Cassirer & Co., Fransche meesters uit de XIXe eeuw: Teekeningen, aquarellen, pastels, July-August 1938, p. 6, no. 15 (titled Struiken).

Lot Essay

A translucent mosaic of perceptively applied color, Cézanne’s Paysage is a luminous watercolor that was executed in 1887-1890. Watercolor was a medium that remained central to Cézanne throughout his career, offering him a variety of painterly effects that differed from oil paint in his continuous quest to capture light in his art. In his later years, Cézanne increasingly turned to this medium. Through his use of watercolor, the artist discovered how to place colors side by side in order to modulate forms and suggest the shifting structure of planar elements in both landscape and still-life, thus heralding his late style of oil painting. In this work, Cézanne has depicted a hillside loosely lined with trees and a small rock formation to the right. With verdant greens, soft ochres, and subtle blue highlights, the scene was constructed through soft touches of color which adorn networks of pencil, achieving a delicate balance between the two media.
The carefully applied brushstrokes of color exist in tension with the luminous areas of the paper’s white surface, which are integrated into the construction of the composition itself to create spatial depth and volume. This structural use of negative space is one of the defining features of Cézanne’s late watercolors. For him, the process of painting was often more important than the final product. He sought not to depict an exact likeness of the landscape before him, but to capture its essence, its underlying structure and the sensations that regarding it produced. “His method was remarkable,” the artist Emile Bernard wrote in 1904, describing Cézanne’s use of watercolor, “absolutely different from the usual process, and extremely complicated. He began on the shadow with a single patch, which he then overlapped with a second, then a third, until all those tints, hinging one to another like screens, not only coloured the object but modelled its form” (quoted in J. Rewald, op. cit., 1983, p. 37). With an astounding simplicity of means Cézanne has created in this watercolor a harmonious tapestry of patches of color and line to evoke the quiet, light-filled atmosphere of this bucolic French countryside.
At the time Cézanne executed this work, he was living an increasingly secluded life in the south of France, exploring the countryside around Aix-en-Provence. After his father’s death in 1886, the artist returned more frequently to his family home, the Jas de Bouffan. Without his father’s presence, Cézanne was able to bring Hortense Fiquet, whom he married in April of this year, and their son Paul, spending increased periods of time in his beloved home. Relieved of his financial woes thanks to a substantial inheritance from his father, Cézanne was able to dedicate himself fully to his painting. He became increasingly removed from the Parisian art world and immersed himself in the secluded landscape of Provence, depicting the areas around Aix and the Mont Sainte-Victoire, travelling the quiet roads and paths that led from village to village in this rural corner of southern France. Cézanne spent his days in happy solitude, devoting himself wholeheartedly to the pursuit of his artistic ambitions in the land that he had grown up in and adored. As he wrote to a friend, “Were it not that I am deeply in love with the landscape of my country, I should not be here” (T. Reff, “Painting and Theory in the Final Decade,” zanne: The Late Works, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1977, p. 26).
Throughout his career, Cézanne relished the depiction of woods and trees, capturing the varied and ever-changing nuances of color and light as he sought to convey his perceptions of nature. “From the Île-de-France landscapes of the 1870s,” Françoise Cachin has written, “to the paintings of the Bibémus quarry and the environs of the Château Noir from the very last years of his life, Cézanne obsessively explored motifs of trees, forests, thickets, screens of foliage, and leafy masses...images of a nature whose vitality is almost suffocating, whose colours are organised in green patches held in place by the rigorously drawn lines of tree trunks” (zanne, exh. cat., Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1996, p. 378).

More from Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper Sale

View All
View All