Paul CÉZANNE, Paysage montagneux, environs d'Aix Enlarge 1 /1

Paul CÉZANNE

France 1839 – 1906

artist

Paysage montagneux, environs d'Aix [Translation: Mountainous countryside surrounding Aix] c. 1895 Place made: Aix-en-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Bouches-du-Rhône, France
Materials & Technique: prints, drawings, watercolour and pencil on paper Support: cream, wove paper
Manufacturer's Mark: no watermark
Impression: unique

Edition Notes: The paper is cut on three sides and torn along the lower edge, indicating that the sheet used here is half of a larger sheet. Pin holes in all four corners. Rewald states, 'Study of buildings and, at left, of trees behind an enclosure. The scene is viewed from above; in the background appears a mountain range'. Rewald states the work is on white paper, but this is incorrect.
Primary Insc: not signed. not dated.
Tertiary Insc: verso: inscribed upper left corner, in pencil ''V' and '1913/PH' [within rectangle] verso: inscribed upper left corner, in red pencil 'km' [vertically] verso: inscribed upper left, in pencil 'No 11' [within circle] verso: inscibed upper edge, in pencil '12 x 18' [upside-down] verso: stamped centre right, in brown ink, illegible.
Dimensions: sheet 31.4 h x 47.6 w cm
Cat Raisonné: Rewald. J 'Paul Cezanne, The Watercolours', Boston, 1983, Cat. No.576, p.234. Illustrated n.p
Acknowledgement: Gift of an anonymous donor 2015. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.
Accession No: NGA 2015.903

Paul Cézanne’s art was one of the foundations of modernism, with particular influence on Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and other Cubists. Despite his significance as an artist, however, Cézanne has a relatively small representation in public institutions in Australia, and opportunities to acquire his art are limited. Mountain landscape near Aix is, then, a very generous gift for all Australians to enjoy.

As a young man, Cézanne was befriended by Impressionist Camille Pissaro, and he exhibited with the Impressionists in their first and third exhibitions of the ‘New Painting’, in 1874 and then 1877. Cézanne rejected certain tenets of the Impressionists and, instead, developed an idiosyncratic style. He was living back in Aix-en-Provence by 1895, perfecting landscapes of his home and its environs. The motif of Mont Saint-Victoire was a particular obsession, and he returned to it frequently.

Cézanne’s watercolour technique was radical. This particular work is an unusual view of the mountain range and takes as its central subject the Chaîne de l’Etoile—he also included the understated but recognisable Cathédrale Saint-Sauveur. This is an example of a mature composition in which brushstrokes both define and articulate the motif and translucent washes of colour create form.

He has depicted the landscape not as a transitory view of surface, pursued by many Impressionists, but with the profundity that characterised his personal style. It demonstrates why Cézanne was central in the development of French art and why he was so widely influential in the twentieth century.

The NGA hopes to acquire a select group of his works, which is why it has established the Cézanne Watercolour and Drawing Fund. To date, seven generous donors have contributed. Their gifts and donations, and yours, will help the NGA achieve this goal.

Jane Kinsman, Senior Curator, International Prints, Drawings and Illustrated Books


in artonview, issue 84, Summer 2015