Paysage à Meudon is a large and important painting completed by Albert Gleizes in 1911, at the height of his new friendship and collaboration with fellow Cubist Jean Metzinger. One of his largest and most ambitious paintings from this period, made in direct response to the inspiration of Metzinger, Paysage à Meudon has been widely exhibited, not least of all at the first major retrospective of Gleizes’ work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, in 1964.
With its prismatic Cubism, shifting multiple perspective points and its holistic integration of trees, hills, houses and bridges this work represents a radical extension of Gleizes' Cubism into an entirely new integrated and simultaneous style of composition. In this it reflects and in fact depicts the importance of the influence of what Gleizes himself later termed his 'rodage' with Metzinger at this time when the two artists, living in Meudon, were in almost daily contact with one another and developed an intimate understanding of each other’s art practice and ideas.
The Parisian suburb of Meudon marked one of the borderlines between the city and the country. A familiar sight for Gleizes on his walk through the woods would have been the burgeoning factories then springing up on the other side of the river Seine. In Paysage à Meudon Gleizes has consciously repressed such urbanised imagery in favour of creating a deliberately more idealised and even classical sense of landscape as if he were championing the values of traditionalism, the pastoral and the classical against those of the city and modernity. Indeed, in this scene we see this idealised version of the landscape through which Gleizes walked almost every day on his journey to and from Metzinger's house. In his attempt to grasp the rhythms of a panorama, Gleizes presents a complex and harmonious geometry of diverging planes and forms that overlap, innovating a fresh and dynamic sense of movement of the landscape subject.