PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
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PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)

La Barque ou Le lac d’Annecy

PAUL CEZANNE (1839-1906)
La Barque ou Le lac d’Annecy
watercolor and pencil on paper
12 3/8 x 18 3/4 in. (31.2 x 47.5 cm.)
Executed in 1896
Ambroise Vollard, Paris.
Gaston Bernheim de Villers, Paris.
Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Paris (acquired from the above, March 1932).
Galerie Maeght, Paris.
Louis Clayeux, Paris.
Private collection, France (acquired from the above).
Acquired from the above by the present owner.
J. Rewald, Paul Cezanne: The Watercolors, A Catalogue Raisonné, Boston, 1983, no. 466 (illustrated).
G.-P. and F. Dauberville, Paul Cezanne chez Bernheim-Jeune, Paris, 2020, p. 1022-1023, no. 368 (illustrated).
W. Feilchenfeldt, J. Warman and D. Nash, The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: An Online Catalogue Raisonné (, no. FWN 1398 (illustrated in color).
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Cezanne aquarelliste, October-November 1956.
Paris, Galerie Bernheim-Jeune et Cie., Cezanne: Aquarelliste et peintre, May-July 1960, no. 17.
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Cezanne Drawing, June-September 2021, p. 141, no. 168 (illustrated in color).

Lot Essay

Cezanne’s La Barque ou Le lac d’Annecy is a beautifully rendered, luminous watercolor executed in 1896. The artist spent the summer months of 1896 with his family in Talloires, a small town on Lake Annecy near the Alps. The breathtaking landscapes of the area inspired a series of watercolors, of which the present work is a wonderful example. John Rewald notes that these works were executed entirely en plein air and are great testimonies to Cezanne's spontaneous responses to the views of the region (Paul Cezanne: The Watercolors, A Catalogue Raisonné, Boston, 1983, p. 200).
For Cezanne, it was the process of painting that was in many cases more important than the final product. He scrutinized nature, methodically applying paint as 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 Cezanne’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 colored the object but modelled its form” (quoted in J. Rewald, op. cit., p. 37). In his watercolors, color and line hang in perfect accord, surrounded by and integrating the white paper which, as John Rewald has described, in its “all-embracing emptiness intensifies the mysterious relationship between a few firm lines and a few subtle color accents” (ibid., p. 28).
Watercolor was a medium that remained central to Cezanne throughout his career, offering him a variety of painterly effects that differed from oil in his continuous search to solve the problem of the depiction of reality. In his later years, Cezanne turned increasingly to this medium, establishing a delicate balance between drawing and soft touches of color. 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. His techniques for depicting the volume and almost tangible physicality of the world around him in oils was wholly unsuited to the diaphanous quality of watercolors, and so he developed a system of contrast between the painted and unpainted areas. He was able to present the world in a different way, demonstrated in his restraint, leaving vast expanses of blank, unmarked paper, manipulating the space itself and making it act as a color in its own right.
The present work is an important study for one of Cezanne’s masterpieces, Le Lac d’Annecy, in the collection of the Courtauld Gallery, London, the only painting he completed during his trip to Talloires.

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