Leading the February Impressionist/Modern auctions is an exceptional landscape by Paul Cézanne, Vue sur L’Estaque et le Château d’If. This masterpiece comes to the market for the first time since it was acquired in 1936 by Samuel Courtauld, the founder of the illustrious Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art in London. Following Courtauld’s generous bequest to the Courtauld Gallery he retained this piece for his private collection, where it remained throughout his life.
Cézanne, having moved his family away from Paris in the wake of the 1870 Franco-Prussian war, lived in the fishing port and small seaside resort of L’Estaque before moving to the Cézanne family mansion ‘Jas de Bouffan’, less than 20 miles away, in 1886. Painted on one of the last visits Cézanne made to L’Estaque, Vue sur L’Estaque et le Château d’If represents an important period in his mature work. Here he uses the now-famous panorama from the hilltop above the town, looking over the rooftops toward the bay of Marseille and the distant islands of Frioul, where the fortress of Château d’If is located, to further his experiments in perspective, vision and design – constructing a sense of form and space, brushstroke by brushstroke.