National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Houses in Provence: The Riaux Valley near L'Estaque Paul Cézanne (artist)
French, 1839 - 1906
Houses in Provence: The Riaux Valley near L'Estaque, c. 1883
oil on canvas
overall: 65 x 81.3 cm (25 9/16 x 32 in.) framed: 84.4 x 100.3 x 5.7 cm (33 1/4 x 39 1/2 x 2 1/4 in.)
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Mellon
On View
From the Tour: Paul Cézanne
Object 2 of 6

In the late 1870s and 1880s Cézanne tried to impose greater order in his paintings by systematizing his brushwork. Here, almost every part of nature is defined by the same close parallel strokes. This landscape is more fully finished than several others in the Gallery's collection. In Riverbank (c. 1895), for example, the primed white of the canvas shows through thinly washed pigments. It is difficult to know whether Cézanne considered the work complete; the color scheme and harmonies seem yet to be worked out. For Cézanne, these harmonies were all important. He modulated hues to ensure that, like notes in music, all were in proper relation to each other. In this painting, blue shadows help unify the surface. All the colors have an equal intensity, and this, combined with the uniform brushstrokes, tends to flatten the space—there is no distinction between near objects and far ones.

Many of the places Cézanne painted have been identified, including this spot near L'Estaque. By comparing his pictures with the actual locations, it becomes clear that he often moved his easel, juxtaposing different points of view as he worked over successive days.

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Exhibition History

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