Cézanne's paintings after about 1895 are more somber, more mysterious than those of earlier years. His colors deepen, and his brushwork assumes greater expression. Spaces become more enclosed. Compare this landscape with Houses in Provence: The Riaux Valley near L'Estaque, c. 1883, executed 20 years earlier.
That painting is open, while a web of branches screens this one. This place is crabbed and remote—much more difficult and forbidding. Compare the skies, too. This blue is no longer airy, but leaden, darkened with touches of purple and green. Even the pale buildings have been replaced by a deeper ocher. Late in his life Cézanne was attracted not only to the fundamental order of nature, but also its chaos and restlessness. The moody loneliness of this place seems matched to his own. He painted Château Noir several times. It was the subject of local legends and had earlier been called Château Diable, "Castle of the Devil." With its Gothic windows and incomplete walls, it has the look of a ruin.
Cézanne still painted in the open air, directly in front of his subject, as impressionist Camille Pissarro had encouraged him to do. But this is far from a quick recording of fleeting visual effects. It is a long and intense meditation, an attempt to "realize"—to use Cézanne's word—his complete sensation of this place, which involves his temperament, his vision, and his mind equally.
Marks and Labels
Acquired 1907 by (Ambroise Vollard [1867-1939], Paris); sold to Marius de Zayas [1881-1961]. Purchased by Edward Steichen [1879-1973] for Eugene [1875-1959] and Agnes Ernst Meyer [1887-1970], Mount Kisco, New York, and Washington, D.C., by 1921; gift 1958 to NGA.
- Possibly Salon d'Automne, Grand Palais, Paris, 1907, no. 49.
- Second Post-Impressionist Exhibition, Grafton Galleries, London, 1912, no. 2.
- The Modern Gallery, New York, 1916.
- Loan Exhibition of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Paintings, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1921, no. 23.
- Loan, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1923.
- Cézanne: The Late Work, The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Grand Palais, Paris, 1977, no. 34, repro.
- Post-Impressionism: Cross-Currents in European and American Painting 1880-1906, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., 1980, not in cat.
- Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Masterpieces from the National Gallery of Art, Washington, State Hermitage Museum, Leningrad; State Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts, Moscow, 1986, no. 37, repro.
- Cézanne, Galeries nationales du Grand Palais, Paris; Tate Gallery, London; Philadelphia Museum of Art, 1995-1996, no. 189, repro.
- Loan to display with permanent collection, Hamburger Kunsthalle, Hamburg, 1998.
- The Year 1900: Art at the Crossroads, Royal Academy of Arts, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 2000, no. 212, repro. (shown only in New York).
- Alfred Stieglitz and His Circle: 1905-1930, Musée d'Orsay, Paris; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, 2004-2005, no. 42, repro. (shown only in Paris).
- Right Under the Sun: Landscape in Provence from Classicism to Modernism (1750-1920), Centre de la Vielle Charité, Marseille; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 2005-2006, no. 38, repro. (shown only in Montreal).
- Cézanne and Beyond, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2009, pl. 5.
- Bulletin of The Metropolitan Museum of Art (1923): 263.
- Summary Catalogue of European Paintings and Sculpture. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1965: 25
- Cairns, Huntington, and John Walker, eds. A Pageant of Painting from the National Gallery of Art. 2 vols. New York, 1966: 2:460, color repro.
- European Paintings and Sculpture, Illustrations. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1968: 18, repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1975: 58, repro.
- Watson, Ross. The National Gallery of Art, Washington. New York, 1979: 120, pl. 107.
- Walker, John. National Gallery of Art, Washington. Rev. ed. New York, 1984: 507, no. 755, color repro.
- European Paintings: An Illustrated Catalogue. National Gallery of Art, Washington, 1985: 78, repro.
- Kopper, Philip. America's National Gallery of Art: A Gift to the Nation. New York, 1991: 165, color repro.
- Rewald, John. The Paintings of Paul Cézanne: a catalogue raisonné. 2 vols. New York, 1996:no. 937, repro.
- Kelder, Diane. The Great Book of French Impressionism. New York, 1997: no. 375, repro.